Jun 4, 2012

You can expect to hear many things at ALEH Moriah – ringing sounds of laughter, steady humming, the swish of wheelchairs, and the occasional unintelligible bursts of conversation – but opera was not something you’d associate with the disabled.

Until now.

Renowned Israeli soprano Shirly Hod recently graced us with a visit, and converted more than a few of us into opera fans.  The diva, who came dressed in elaborate garb, was accompanied by a pianist, but also brought along her personal charm and warmth, and made sure to engage residents before and during singing. Shirly encouraged them to sing along, and demonstrated warm up vocal exercises designed to loosen the vocal cords and throat.  It was amazing to see how many of the participants actually followed her lead, mimicking every sound.

Shirly opened the performance with a light aria, and we were amazed to see how the room grew silent as the residents were transfixed by the trilling sounds emitting from her throat.  As Shirly sang excerpts from a selection of operas and popular musicals, everyone in attendance – staff and residents alike – was riveted by her wonderful tone.

Our thanks to Shirly Hod (whose name, aptly enough, translates as ‘in glory sing to me’) for giving of her time and sharing her love of music with an unusual – but still highly appreciative audience.


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