Songsters hitting high notes after pandemic shutdown

SHELTON - One group of senior center songbirds is back in tune - and it only took a year and a half.

The pandemic put the Shelton Songsters - known for their performances at the city’s senior center as well as other area centers - took center stage once again on July 23, performing for the first time in early 2020.

“We stopped practicing last year around the end of February,” Betty Goddard, who along with her husband, Ron, run the chorus which practices Wednesdays at the senior center. “It was really hard because singing is an outlet for a lot of people.”

The Songsters total 40 strong, Goddard said, and plan to take the stage again at the center on Oct. 8.

At the time the pandemic hit the area - effectively ending such gatherings - Goddard said the group had members as old as 102.

“Many kept asking ‘will we ever sing again?’” Goddard said. “We just started again probably in late May early June. We have lost at least five members that have passed and probably five more for just not returning. But we have also gained four new members.

"The concerts we have are important because it is an outlet for all of us to get together and sing,” Goddard said. “We are a happy group and have a good time putting on at least four concerts a year.”

"The concerts we have are important because it is an outlet for all of us to get together and sing,” Goddard said. “We are a happy group and have a good time putting on at least four concerts a year.”

Following the October concert, Goddard said the chorus will perform what has become an annual tradition - the Christmas concert - on Dec. 17. For Oct. 8, Goddard teased a potential surprise songster - Board of Aldermen President John Anglace, Jr. - for a solo.

A member for almost four years, Cookie Martini said her reason for joining was her love of music and her desire to bring joy to those seniors attending the concerts.

“It was awful not be together to sing during the pandemic,” she said, “and of course we did not practice. We are all so happy to be back. We are rehearsing now for our fall performance.

“I love volunteering my time to make others happy,” she added. “The world needs more love and laughter.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com