Shepherd’s Center Singers Entertain Residents of Countryside Villas

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By Judie Holcomb-Pack

On a beautiful spring day, the residents of Countryside Villas, an independent living community in Winston-Salem, were treated to a concert by the Shepherd’s Center Singers, a group just barely a year old. You wouldn’t suspect they were such a “young” group as their harmonizing was spot-on.

Led by Carmina “Peggy” Jenks, the chorus belted out pop songs from the 50s and 60s, familiar Southern Gospel classics, Broadway show tunes and patriotic music. You could see people’s heads bobbing and their feet tapping, and occasionally hear a voice singing along with the music.

The idea of a Shepherd’s Center singing group had been floated for some time by Susan Meny, the director of the Vital Living Program. Several times she had asked Carmina to take on the project, but Carmina kept telling her she was “too busy right now.” Then one day Carmina came to Susan and said “I’m ready now.” She had quit another chorus she was in and wanted to take on the challenge of starting a new chorus. She brought her vast array of musical talent, persuaded Joel Everett to be theirpianist, and started reaching out to friends and anyone else who indicated an interest in singing to join her.

The practice and effort this group puts forth is evident in their beautiful voices. From the haunting “Sound of Silence” to the upbeat “That’s the Story of Love,” the harmony is outstanding. The group also has fun with their performances and this one ended in an audience-participation sing-along which everyone seemed to enjoy.

The Shepherd Center Singers has about 16 active members and a few singers who attend practice for the joy of singing, but prefer not to do performances. Carmina welcomes new members and men’s voices are especially needed. They practice every Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Shepherd’s Center, 1700 Ebert Street, in Winston-Salem. The cost is a donation of $2 per practice to help defray the cost of music and materials. The singers’ ages range from the mid-50s to the mid-80s.

Carmina says the only requirement to join is a love to sing! Many of the members enjoy the social component of the group as much as the musical part. They offer support to each other and every month they celebrate all the birthdays in that month. Carmina said that for her, music “shares emotion and beauty. It offers the healing of sound.”

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