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Older adult choirs bring joy and community to San Francisco seniors

Courtesy of the Community Music Center
Summit of Older Adult Choirs at CMC on May 9, 2014

Four years ago, the University of California at San Francisco, in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services and 95-year-old Mission district institution Community Music Center, initiated a clinical trial to study the impact that singing in a choir can have on older adults. 

The Community of Voices study follows several choirs that meet for weekly rehearsals and occasional performances. It builds on previous work by gerontologist Dr. Gene Cohen around creativity, the arts and aging, according to lead researcher Julene Johnson. Cohen studied seniors who sang in weekly choirs.


"He found that older adults who sang in the choir for a year had fewer falls, they had fewer over-the-counter medications, their morale was higher, and there was a hint that their depressive symptoms were less than the control group," says Johnson.


Estela Moreno, Olinda Marti-Wolcoff, and Lupe Bravo are members of the 30th Street Senior Center Choir/Coro de la Treinta, which sings in Spanish, English, and Tagalog.


Click the audio player above to listen to their story.


This piece first aired on January 26, 2016.



Community Music Center (CMC) is expanding its successful Older Adult Choir Program in San Francisco and adding three new choirs at senior centers in the Bernal Heights, Castro and Marina neighborhoods. The program is free for all adults 55 and over, regardless of musical experience.