Bringing joy to people whose worlds are getting a little smaller is the mission of the Outreach Singers of Lake Norman.
Brenda Romeo, 66, of Cornelius has been a member of the Outreach Singers for four years.
The volunteer group sings once a month at six different retirement and convalescent homes in the Lake Norman and North Mecklenburg area.
Romeo has a passion for singing and was excited to join a group of uplifting people who had such dedication to their community.
Singing in convalescent homes is an act that is close to Romeo's heart.
Several years ago, Romeo's mother was a resident in a home in Connecticut. She remembers the singers that would occasionally perform and the look of happiness on her mother's face. Romeo feels a special connection to the Outreach Singers because of this.
The Outreach Singers change their performance each month and practice for two-and-a-half hours at Davidson United Methodist Church.
Louise Lake, 74, founded the group in 2000.
Romeo explains that Lake is the heart of their group and is an inspiring leader to all 35 singers.
The group chooses songs that will make a connection with the residents they are singing too. They perform Broadway tunes, Golden Oldies and World War II music.
Although she has many favorite performances, Romeo said, "I love music from South Pacific." She also loved performing "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and "Down By The Old Mill Stream."
Each performance is 45 minutes long and contains 4-6 rehearsed songs, some trivia to warm up the group and a singalong session where they take requests from the audience.
The performances are upbeat, and the audience often dance along to the music.
At the end of every show, they sing a patriotic medley. Since most of the residents are from the World War II era, the finale of the show is always a big hit.
The Outreach Singers have become so popular that they now receive requests to perform for other retirement communities. They can be seen around town in between performances with their signature black vests covered in musical notes.
Romeo is most inspired by their performances to the Alzheimer's patients that they have come to know and care about. Many of the residents will be slumped over in their chairs in the beginning of the performance. A note will strike a cord with them, and they will start to sing along.
"It is a magical experience to see these people have joy in their day," said Lake.
The singers have seen the beauty of what music can do.
"The Alzheimer's patients will reach out their hands to us," said Elaine DeGlopper, a member of the Outreach Singers. "They will sit and stare, and then we will hit a note and a light goes on. It is wonderful to see."
Although the group may not know the science behind it, it is clear that the moment is triggering something in the these patients. It takes them to a familiar and happy place and time. In that moment, they experience pure joy.
The Outreach Singers are now a part of Romeo's life.
"It is very meaningful to do something like this," said Romeo. "We are all very supportive of each other and the rewards are tremendous."
The Outreach Singers have been asked to give a special performance this year at Christmas in Davidson. They will perform at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 on the village green in Davidson.