Mary Reimann has spent over 30 years of her professional career as a music director. When she stepped away from that role in August of 2019, an intriguing pattern began to form. “I had a number of people approach me—what was interesting was it was five separate people—and they all approached me with the same idea to start a community choir that is ecumenical and drawing people from a variety of faith traditions,” Reimann says.
“With the first few I thought, ‘Oh, that’s a really interesting idea for the future.’ But by the fifth one I thought, ‘Okay,’ and started really paying attention to this idea,” Reimann says. She reached out to two friends, plus someone who had pitched the idea.
The four drew up a list of people they thought would be interested and began calling folks up. “That was a Thursday, so by Monday we had over 60 people saying yes, they wanted to do it,” she says. While exciting, this also far outstripped Reimann and the other’s expectations, she explains, “I thought, ‘Oh gosh, we’ve got something rolling, what do we do?’”
This began another serendipitous pattern of the choirs’ needs being met internally, through the broad ranging skillsets of its members. One of the founding four reached out to a connection she had at Woodbury’s Saint Therese Senior Services, who was willing to host Spirit Song’s first rehearsal.
“They were very supportive, we got an affirmative right away,” Reimann says.
With the momentum of the choir picking up, the group quickly realized they’d have to form a nonprofit to cover the costs of purchasing sheet music and build a website to direct traffic. Luckily, two members with expertise in the respective fields volunteered their services. “Everything we’ve needed has shown up when we needed it,” Reimann says.
This has allowed the choir to focus on the needs of the community. From nursing homes and senior living facilities to churches and community events, the Spirit Song Choir looks to serve others.
For the residents of the memory-care unit at Woodbury Estates, this means visiting on Wednesday mornings to host a sing-along. Songs like You Are My Sunshine appear to have a rejuvenating effect on many in the unit. “A lot of these songs tap into deep memories from their past in a way that just talking with someone doesn’t,” explains Reimann.
With more than 100 members, Spirit Song Choir rehearses at Saint Therese in Woodbury every Thursday from 7–9 p.m. Find out more about upcoming events and concerts at spiritsongchoir.org.