Talented Fox Run Residents Are In Sync

By Michele Wojciechowski
July 9, 2024
Popular singing group is one of the joys of living at Fox Run in Novi, Michigan.

"I've been singing since I can remember. Singing is part of who I am!" says Barbara Theurer. "And I've always loved creating experiences for other people. As a little girl, I would pull together all the kids in my neighborhood to create musical programs, pantomime, and dance to records."

Barbara's love of music continued into her adulthood. She spent three decades singing in her church choir and directing the church's choral and handbell programs.

Now, as a resident at Fox Run, the Erickson Senior Living community in Novi, Mich., she's able to pursue her passion for singing and directing with In Sync, the community's a cappella group.

Up to the challenge

After settling into her apartment home in November 2020, it didn't take long for Barbara's neighbors to discover her musical talents.

In December 2021, resident Paul Sundquist approached Barbara about leading an a cappella group. She jumped at the opportunity.

"I love to sing, but I'm not a director," says Paul, with a laugh. "I asked Barbara because she has very good instincts when it comes to music. And, as a leader, she's outstanding!"

After much discussion, Paul and Barbara agreed on In Sync--a four-part vocal ensemble that blends voices seamlessly to perform popular yet challenging music.

"Blending means singing with 'one voice,'" says Barbara. "In doing so, the listener cannot distinguish the group's individual voices. Primarily, we sing four-part SATB music, which stands for the four main vocal ranges--soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. In Sync has an equal number of residents in each range."

When In Sync debuted in 2022, it was a quartet of talented residents. Now, the ensemble has grown to 12 members, including seven men and five women.

"We felt that three people in each range would be beneficial, allowing for productive 90-minute rehearsals each week," says Barbara, who sings soprano in the group.

Wealth of opportunity

In addition to directing In Sync, Barbara facilitates three other musical groups at Fox Run: Three-Octave Handbell Choir, Men's Chorus, and Reader's Theater.

As a smaller ensemble, In Sync often performs alongside the other musical groups. Performances are typically held twice a year, once in the spring and another during the holiday season. The ensemble also performs at a variety of sales events.

"Most of our performances are held in the performing arts center on campus," says Barbara. "It's wonderful having access to a stage."

To prepare for each of In Sync's performances, Barbara will spend hours on her computer researching new music options.

"I listen until I find something that feels like a good fit," she says. "I look for music that's fun yet challenging. I like taking a creative approach with the music because, together, we mold and shape it into something wonderful."

This past May, In Sync partnered with Reader's Theater to host "Songs and Stories," performing popular favorites including The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Under the Boardwalk, High Hopes, and The Longest Time.

Creating bonds 

Barbara notes that the music they sing is almost as beautiful as the friendships and bonds they create.  

"Singing a cappella, even in rehearsals, demands intense concentration. We listen closely to each other--to people sharing the same part and the ensemble as a whole," says Barbara. "You develop a respect for the people who are as passionate as you."

She adds, "Seeing members linger after rehearsal and check in on each other makes my heart soar!"

Virginia "Vicki" Rickard, one of In Sync's earliest members, grew up singing in church choirs and performing as a soloist in a variety of singing groups.

"We are all lifelong singers," says Vicki. "When you work together for the best possible results, you form a bond--both in singing and in friendship. And when you do a good job, it's magical!"

Pursue your passion

Looking back on nearly four years at Fox Run, Barbara is grateful for the opportunity to share her talents and passion with her neighbors.

"It's so nice that, at this time in my life, I am involved in music again," says Barbara. "In Sync has enhanced all our lives. Knowing that you belong to something much bigger than yourself is rewarding. That's what makes In Sync so wonderful!"

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