Voices in Motion is an intergeneration community choir for people with memory loss, their caregivers and friends, and students too.
Erica Phare-Berg explains that the ‘students’ are what make this an intergenerational choir.
“Usually the people that are involved in the choir have some connection with dementia,” explains Erica Phare-Berg, Voices in Motion’s artistic director.
As has been the case for pretty much every other non-profit, the pandemic has created huge challenges for this vital choir.
“We realized right off the get-go that it was very important to keep everybody together in the community. So, the week after COVID hit and we had to shut down, we started on-line rehearsals on Zoom, which was totally new to us,” says Phare-Berg.
But along with keeping the community together, Phare-Berg and her husband and choir co-director Rick Berg knew they needed to raise money to keep this choir going as the pandemic raged on.
So they combined their love of singing with another love of theirs, food, and created a cookbook called Cooking With the Choir: Unforgettable Recipes, which is available through the Voices in Motion website.
Andrea Warner, a member of the choir since its inception more than two years ago, co-edited the cookbook with Phare-Berg and is thrilled how it all came together.
“There’s a beautiful variety” Warner explains, “from appetizers down to desserts. There’s a mixture of the sort of ‘decadent fun ones’ and the more nutritionally based ones. We had recipes submitted by some of our students, as well as some of the older choir members. There are Quebecois recipes, we’ve got recipes from the Netherlands, we’ve got recipes from eastern Europe, Philippines, it’s just a great variety!”
But what is even more vital to Warner, and to Phare-Berg too, are the write-ups each member submitted with their recipe.
“Then there are the stories that go along with each recipe. I found that reading the stories, especially during this pandemic time, really helped me to feel that community again, even though we’re physically apart,” said Warner.