The Nelson Star is pleased to continue this column to recognize the many volunteers in our community who go above and beyond to help others. The individuals we profile are selected by a committee outside the newspaper based on set criteria. For example, the person must be volunteering over the long term, and mustn’t be paid for the work. If you’d like to nominate somebody for consideration by the Above and Beyond committee email their name and why they deserve recognition to: email@example.com.
Second Wind is a dedicated group of seniors who have been volunteering at seniors homes in the Nelson area for over 20 years.
It all began with Louise Legge who started playing piano at Willowhaven in 1995. Over the years the group has grown from six original members to 41 musicians whose average age is 75.
Each month they visit all four of the Nelson senior homes: Jubilee Manor, Broader Horizons, Lake View Village, and Mountain Lakes. Twice a year they also visit Castlewood Manor. Their purpose is to entertain residents as a sing-a-long group with a variety of individual performers.
“We want the seniors to have a good time,” said Linda Taylor director of Second Wind. “We want to wake them up and provide lots of laughter and light.”
The group performs oldies from the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s, plus some “old newies” from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.
To add to the entertainment, Second Wind dresses to a monthly theme such as Irish, spring, or Western and encourages senior residents and staff to get into costume as well.
“I assure you, we are much appreciated by the residents as well as the staff,” said Taylor.
They have nine instrumentalists in the group and over 30 singers. With a piano, two harmonicas, keyboard, two guitars, two fiddles, a tuba, accordion and a clarinet, “it’s like a little orchestra,” says Taylor.
“The instrumentalists really are very talented musicians. They get their own music and bring it to rehearsal.”
With 350 songs to choose from, Taylor picks 18 new songs per month and lyric sheets are made into books for all the singers with some available for the senior home residents to use during the performances.
The word books are graciously stored by the Nelson Senior Centre as 350 songs generate a large volume.
While Taylor selects the songs and organizes the group, Nancy Mackay and Elizabeth Wass put the new word books together every month.
“This group is a very dedicated bunch of people, but it’s a lot of fun,” said Taylor. “We’ve grown as big as we can for now. Sometimes we have more of us than the people we’re playing for.”
Aside from their performances every Friday, the group holds rehearsal once a month at the Covenant Church in Balfour.
To say thank you for the rehearsal space, Second Wind is holding a sing along for all of the community and the parishioners on May 25 at 7 p.m.