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Friday, January 6, 2017

Seniors Break Barriers with Prisoners

Young@Heart Chorus performs rock and R&B all over the world, including prisons.

It’s hard to imagine: a chorus composed of 73- to 89-year-olds singing with prison inmates. Not only singing but getting these tough guys to raise their arms in solidarity during a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.”

The Young@Heart Chorus, based in Northampton, Mass., launched its Prison Project in October 2014 at two local prisons. Not only has the project broken down barriers between the seniors and the inmates but among the inmates also, who let down their guard in front of the older folks and start singing themselves.

In addition to the weekly prison visits, the group has performed all over Europe and the United States, plus New Zealand and Australia. And if you think their repertoire consists of old classics, think again. These singers rock out with music by James Brown, David Bowie, ColdPlay, Prince and Pearl Jam.

“When you see the elders on the street, you think they have nothing going on,” said one inmate, “but then when you get to know them, they do have something going on. They have their community. That keeps them young.”


A Rock Group With the Minimum Age of 73,” Sept. 8, 2016, Next Avenue.

Young@Heart Chorus,” Young@Heart Chorus.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors