The Sunset Singers

The Sunset Singers perform for the love of singing, but they also raise funds for worthy causes.

By Ed Weick

The Sunset Singers are a dynamic and energetic group of older people who see the world as a meaningful place, a place they want to affirm and praise through song. As positive people, they want to do things for their community and its people. They’ve now been active as a group for seven years. Though members come and go, there are now about 15 of them, some 10 women and four or sometimes five men, and they range in age from their late 60s to well into their 90s.

When they were younger, they worked hard for a living, made sure that their families had food and shelter, and that their children were educated, and they did all of those necessary things that get one through life. Now they have time to let their creative side come to the fore and they very much enjoy doing that.

As with everyone, declining health as one ages has been a factor with the Sunset Singers. Yet health issues have not stopped them from being active. One member who suffers from Parkinson’s serves meals to the needy at a local church. Another recently made a C.D in celebration of her 80th birthday and now has the time to take piano lessons and practise four hours a day. A member, in his 90s, completed two books, made four CDs and created a website to share his research on the history of Israel. Another member has recently written a play that is to be performed at the theatre in Wakefield in the fall. Still others have taken university-level courses, joined various committees and a miscellany of organizations because they still have a lot to offer and don’t want to sit around in boredom.

As a choir, the Sunset Singers assemble weekly from various parts of Ottawa–Gatineau to practise under a superb director, confidence booster Roxanne Goodman. As they put it, they see themselves as singing not because the sun is going down, but because it’s still up there. And they’ll keep singing as long as it’s there!

Who listens to their songs? Well, they’ve done a lot of gigs at retirement homes and other facilities that house older or ailing people. Their audiences have thoroughly enjoyed their performances, often inviting them back. And once a year they do a concert at a major performance venue like Centrepoint Theatre. That’s where they’ll be performing their eighth annual concert this year on Saturday, November 2 at 2:30 p.m. Their program will once again consist of things people thoroughly enjoy – songs, skits and a chance to bid on many lovely items at a silent auction. Everyone who’s attended these concerts in past years has been very pleased by them! They hope to see you at the coming concert because they know you’ll greatly enjoy it.

The Sunset Singers perform the annual concert partly because they enjoy doing it, but in large measure because a variety of charities benefit from it. Charities they have supported with money raised in past concerts include food banks, programs that assist in the preservation of wildlife and summer programs for young people. They understand the need for caring and giving, and they will not quit supporting that need.

What the Sunset Singers most basically demonstrate is that age needn’t be a burden. Yes, aging does change behaviour, but they believe that much of what you were in your younger years can remain with you as you enter your senior years. You don’t have to leave your true self behind!

Ed Weick has been a member of the Sunset Singers for some five years.

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