We have seen and experienced the therapeutic effect of music on seniors -- an effect confirmed by recent research. It is not unusual to see members of the audience singing along and mouthing the words to songs, even at healthcare facilities and daycare centers for people with memory difficulties. The smiles on their faces and the tapping of their toes are evidence of the happiness and enjoyment that we have been able to bring.
The musical arrangements are chosen with an ear for suitability and variety for the listening enjoyment of our senior and veteran audiences.
After each performance, we go out among our audience to shake hands, engage in conversation, and offer a greeting, a smile, and a pat on the arm -- often extending human touch and compassion to those who are unable to even move or lift their hands. In doing this, we endeavor to brighten people’s moods, boost their spirits, and start a chain reaction that will generate a positive environment within the places to which we bring our music.
We had two peppy songs in our "Opener" section, three rousing songs in our "Sacred" section, followed by a song made famous by Perry Como, a song adapted by Louis Lavater from "Tales from the Vienna Woods" (a waltz by Johann Strauss, Jr., the "Waltz King"), and a medley of Cole Porter love songs arranged by Karl Mansfield, a wonderful Broadway musician whose mother, Ellie, is an alto in our group. Variety was certainly not the problem.
Something was still missing...
Yet somehow, it just did not seem right.
We had started with 71 candidates on our original list, which we narrowed down to 24, but now we had we had our final list -- 10 songs, two of them medleys: Openers, Sacred, Folk/Friendship, Love Songs, Show Tunes, and a Finale -- 10 songs chosen from 24 by the Music Selection Committee.
Although we rehearse in Palo Alto, our singers hail from Peninsula communities stretching from Belmont to San Jose.
After a period of ten regular rehearsals and one sectional, we give 12 - 15 concerts at various local and mid-Peninsula retirement homes, senior and daycare centers, and healthcare and veteran facilities during each of our concert seasons -- the first in the Winter and the second in the Spring -- for a total of 25 - 30 concerts annually. There is also one family-friendly public concert during each season.
At the end of each program season, we come together and share a meal. There are also dinners and get-togethers scheduled during the summer break, resulting in a great sense of love, friendship, camaraderie, and caring among our members.
The Peninsula Clef Hangers is a non-profit, volunteer women's choral group of about 30 singers under the leadership of our director, Joan Sprague, and supported by our fabulous accompanist, Janine Gianino. During the holiday season, we are joined by flautists, Lynne Ohara, Colleen Peterson, Diana Dole, and Karen Inaba.
The Peninsula Clef Hangers women's choral group was founded in 1970, when a number of Northern California residents and Palo Alto Junior League members with a mutual love of music decided to come together to sing.
In March 1978, we adopted the name, Clef Hangers, and are now incorporated as The Peninsula Clef Hangers, a 501(c)3 organization.
Why We Sing -- Why We Do What We do
by Susan M. Daijo
What We Sing
Who We Are
What We Do
HOW IT ALL STARTED....
We are funded in part
by a grant from
Each of our two annual programs contains 12 - 14 songs, including spirituals, inspirational and sacred music, folk and love songs, patriotic selections, holiday favorites, "Oldies-But-Goodies", tunes from Broadway musicals, toe tappers, and music of the world. Some songs may be visually enhanced by a costumed skit or a dance.
The incredible opportunity to bring joy and delight to the hearts of our senior and veteran audience has great rewards and is a testament to the power of music to touch souls.
Our concert programs -- the first presented during the Winter and the second during the Spring -- provide a welcome diversion from normal routines and bring the stimulation and energy of a live performance to a mostly homebound audience for whom concert attendance would not otherwise be possible.
45 years after our founding, we are still singing! The current group of about 30 volunteer singers continues to perform 25-30 concerts annually.
Bringing the joy of live music to seniors and veterans
The Peninsula Clef Hangers
The problem was with our "Finale" section. Comprised of a folk song and a Gershwin medley, it just somehow lacked punch. But well...it was what we had...it was what was chosen.
We finally had our Spring 2014 program.
We bring the joy of live music at no cost to seniors in local retirement homes, daycare centers, and healthcare and veterans facilities in the mid-Peninsula area. Concerts are also given to other non-profit or community organizations with the approval of our members.