Harmony on an Empty Track

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Resident Joanne Lauer stands by the piano in the Multi-Purpose Room at Shaker Pointe

A Note and a Tune

For Joanne Lauer, music has always been a  source of positive enjoyment.  Some of her earliest memories include her parents and song.  She recollects fondly the times her Dad would be playing the family piano or her Mom would sing in the kitchen while fixing dinner.  Joanne’s commencement into the world of music started with the piano.  Her early interests were sparked by her father’s gift to play songs by ear.  Taking piano lessons as a kid, Joanne candidly shares that she was passable at piano recitals and that the talent was something she really had to work at.  Singing, however, was a different story.  Joanne expressed, “I was like a sponge, drinking in the tunes and lyrics, and being especially excited about harmony.”  While picking up the songs her parents would sing, her appetite for music grew.  In the 4th grade she can remember the honor of being chosen to sing a solo for ‘O’ Holy Night’ in the Christmas Concert.  In school, music class quickly became her favorite subject.  At church, she sang in the young people’s choir every Sunday.  While the lyrics for some of the classics still play in her head, different genres came to influence her song.  Like most young adults searching for their own beat, Joanne soon found her own set of tunes in rock and roll.  Spending her youth listening to new tracks, she admits to effectively wearing out her coveted vinyl collection.  Specifically, she recalls talents like The Everly Brothers teaching her to harmonize.  In High School she joined the Glee Club and discovered even more about harmonizing in a group, lessons that still hold value.

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Joanne (right) singing alto in the Shaker Pointe choir

 

A New Stage

In Joanne’s words, karaoke became all the rage when ‘out and about’ for entertainment.  As an adult, who was comfortable singing in groups, Joanne had to learn to enjoy taking the stage alone.   Even today she confides, “I get scared with stage fright, but I push myself to do it because, in the end, singing makes me happy!”   Once she’s on stage, the audience is all hers.  It’s hard not to become entranced by Joanne’s eager enthusiasm for a song and a chance to participate.  If karaoke is taking place, Joanne’s got the microphone, even if it’s just for one song.  To help overcome her stage fright, Joanne found a safe haven in an online community called Sing Snap.   Joining in 2007, it was here she found she could sing karaoke whenever at home.  On the site, one can choose from hundreds of songs, putting them in any key and recording them any number of times.  She chooses to make most of her videos public for others in the online community to view and comment.  Some hold contests, but Joanne is content with the practice it gives her.  She was pleased to share that most of the comments she’s received have been extremely kind, and the community friendly.  Still, she enjoys singing as part of a group.  Joanne is a member in a multi-denominational Gospel Group called the Voice of Faith, sponsored by Macedonia Baptist Church.  This summer they will prepare for their 10th Fall concert!

In 2013 Joanne joined a different type of community, Shaker Pointe.  As one of the first new residents of Shaker Pointe’s Doane Brook homes, Joanne’s passion for song was greeted with open arms.  Moving to the Shaker Pointe community, Joanne soon felt right at home as one of the first members of the Shaker Pointe Chorus.  Singing Alto, she discovered others who share a passion for song.  In searching for an opportunity to connect with others, she had an idea.  Soon she was finding a way to sync Sing Snap to Shaker Pointe’s audio-visual system.  With success, Joanne eagerly began planning a karaoke night all her own, uniting two of her communities into one.

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Joanne dressed as The King!

 As Long as I have a Voice!

To date, Joanne has led a musical karaoke night about 10 times at Shaker Pointe.  While some have been slow to grab the microphone, others just love to dance or sing in groups.  A song might come on that everyone knows and the multi-purpose room is soon filled with seated voices.  Joanne sums the sentiment up well by saying, “Music is a universal language and everyone comes together and enjoys.”  For Joanne, she enjoys taking the lead and helping others loosen up to have a good time.  She shares that she’s always willing to have someone over to her apartment beforehand to rehearse a song and become more comfortable.  While slow to start some nights, other times residents come ready for a performance!  One group getting into the spirit of things arrived dressed in variations of Sonny and Cher and the famous Dolly Parton.  Joanne herself once debuted as ‘The King’, Elvis Presley.  Her main goal is to make everyone in attendance comfortable, adopting an ‘anything goes’ policy.  Some residents will sit and sing from their chair and others drum up group participation.  Having the large screen at Shaker Pointe displaying the lyrics, seems to really help the audience connect.  Joanne is always pleasantly surprised by the unexpected solo performers.  She shared one such instance where a wife encouraged her husband to take the stage.  According to Joanne, he took the bet and belted out a grand rendition of ‘Tiny Bubbles.’  Joanne’s next Karaoke Night will take place this coming May 21st at 6:30 p.m.  Without giving too much away, she already has plans to debut as one of the ‘Classic Leading Ladies.’   Music for Joanne will always remain an important feature in her life.  She vows that she’ll sing as long as she has a voice to do so.  The community at Shaker Pointe is happy to listen.

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