About the sessions

What can you expect when you arrive?

Friendly people who enjoy singing!

Volunteers at the first Side by Side Singers in Asheville, November 2013.

Volunteers will ask you to sign in with your name and email address,
so we can let you know about upcoming Side by Side sessions and
information. We do not share your email address with anyone else! 

Someone will hand you a song book containing the words to all
the songs we will be singing. 
It is likely you will hear someone
playing the piano as people filter into the seating area.

Who is invited to attend?

We started by inviting only people who have mild to moderate cognitive impairment such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, or brain injuries. We expanded our invitation to include those living with Parkinson’s Disease, with those who cannot drive on their own accompanied by a care-partner.

The health benefits of singing are so varied, and apply to so many health issues, that we now invited EVERYONE to join in Side by Side Singing. Anyone interested in community singing is welcome!

What we do during a session

IMG_2062Each session will begin with musical ice-breakers and vocal warm-ups, followed by singing of rounds and well-known songs. Though not designed to be a performance choir, simple harmonies will be taught, and those with a knack for singing harmonies will be encouraged to do so. Songs will be chosen to promote feelings of joy and well-being. Opportunities will also be provided in each session for participants to sing solos, play rhythm instruments and get up and move a little, too! Piano accompaniment will be provided. Each session will end with 15 – 20 minutes of socialization with refreshments provided.

Singing together enhances quality of life on many levels. This positive initiative is also a part of an effort to reduce the stigma associated with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive impairment, and Parkinson’s through the communal experience of creating something beautiful in the present moment.

A successful pilot project of this singing experience was launched November 2013 by the Early Memory Loss Collaborative.  Participants of the fall session and their partners all expressed the positive benefits of singing together. Several care-partners noted how animated and verbal their partners were after each session. Feelings of happiness and well-being sometimes lingered for days. One care-partner reported, “You have no idea what this has meant to my husband and me. We look forward to this all week.” Another shared, “My husband has not spoken much lately. Today he sang every word in every song. This is wonderful!” Said another, “This experience has been something new that we can share together as a couple, and that means the world to me.”

From Jane Sherman, Founder of the Memory Loss Collaborative 

“Music makes a difference – in all of us – but especially for those living with the challenges of cognitive losses.  So many parts of the brain are engaged during singing, that those with dementia often function at a higher level for a period of time after listening to music and singing.  Music can restore us to our memories and, thereby to ourselves.  Besides, it is just plain fun.”

A partial song list 

You might be wondering if you will know any of the songs we’ll be singing.
This is a partial list of the songs you will find in the song book:

Down in the Valley
Goodnight Irene
Happy Trails
Let me call you Sweetheart
Oh What A Beautiful Morning
Over the Rainbow
Sentimental Journey
When the Saints Go Marching In

And of course — we will be singing “Side by Side” 

The sign-in desk at Side by Side Singing in Hendersonville. From left: Roxana White, Barbara Eck, Ruthie Rosauer, Jean Tuech.

The sign-in desk at Side by Side Singing in Hendersonville. From left: Roxana White, Barbara Eck, Ruthie Rosauer, Jean Tuech.


There is no charge to participate in these sessions. We appreciate support from the N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at the University of North Carolina Asheville.



For more information contact Ruthie Rosauer ruthiesong@gmail.com

It is not necessary to pre-register in order to attend. However, if you would like
to provide your email address we will keep you updated should there be any
changes to parking, location or weather conditions.

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