Skip to main content

'Automatic connection': Choir made up of seniors bringing joy to Winnipeg

One Winnipeg choir is proving that age is just a number.

The ‘Movin’ On’ choir is made up of tenants of Dakota House, an assisted living home in St. Vital. The choir’s youngest member is 76 and its oldest is 97; however, they are all young at heart.

“You know, it's not the best singing in the world, far from it. We're just amateurs, but we're singing together and it means a lot,” said Anne Yanchyshyn, a 95-year-old singer with Movin’ On.

The choir gives the seniors an opportunity to socialize. It also brings joy to both those singing and those who get to listen.

“I think it's important for older people especially, to have something of interest in their lives,” said Irene Young, the choir’s director.

“And we see by the residents' response when we have a concert, the room is packed. So they love it as much as we do.”

The members of Movin’ On perform songs from their youth, including It’s a Small World, Doggy in the Window, and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.

"They are from the past. We have fun, for example, doing 'Doggy in the Window', because we had another person, a man, do the barking at the end and he was so good and unpredictable,” Yanchyshyn said.

The Dakota House tenants who aren’t in the choir love to hear Movin’ On perform at monthly concerts and on special occasions.

“They enjoy it to the point where they sing with us when they know the words, so they always tell us they like us,” said Margaret Rempel, the choir’s pianist.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the choir, which used to be called the Dakota Dazzlerss, took a long pause. But now it’s back with a new name that represents how the choir has persevered.

“After the COVID had passed, I changed the name to Movin On because we kept singing,” Young said.

Through a shared love of music and song, the choir continues to bring joy and harmony to many in the community.

“When you have a song that you're all enjoying -- it's automatic connection,” Rempel said.

“Just singing the same things, knowing all the songs that we used to sing, that's an automatic connection.” Top Stories

Stay Connected