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Calling All Singers! Griffin Hospital to Host Soul in the Valley Holiday Concert

By Alex Stackpole on 10/5/2017

Griffin Hospital is seeking singers of all skill levels to help bring a little holiday “soul” to the Naugatuck Valley this winter and build bridges for good health in the community.

This year’s Griffin Hospital Annual Holiday Concert will be entitled “Soul in the Valley,” featuring a gospel choir of volunteer singers from throughout the Valley under the direction by Angela Clemmons, a professional singer for more than 35 years and director of the acclaimed “Shoreline Soul” performances in Madison, CT.

The idea for the community choir came to Griffin Hospital President and CEO Patrick Charmel after he watched a performance by Shoreline Soul this year. Charmel was amazed by how volunteer singers from churches and organizations throughout the state’s shoreline area were able to work together to produce an inspiring and unforgettable performance.

Charmel believes a Valley version of the community choir will not only make for a unique and moving show, but will also help build and strengthen partnerships that will improve the health of the region.

Griffin is leading the transition of hospitals in the state from a volume based “sick care” system to a value based health care system that rewards more effective preventive and primary care, chronic disease management, care coordination and health status improvement of its local community. To be successful, Griffin needs to help address the social determinants of health in its community, such as quality of housing, job skills and employment, food security, transposition, and social support, which requires building a close working relationship with community based organizations and agencies, schools and churches.

Clergy from Valley churches and synagogues have already created a working group to develop a plan to address community health needs, and Charmel sees the Soul in the Valley choir as a wonderful way to bring the community support organizations closer together as they work on this common mission.

“We’re excited to host the choir workshops with our neighbors and members of the churches and faith groups, organizations, and businesses throughout lower Naugatuck Valley. This will be a wonderful way to build unity, help establish relationships and create greater cultural sensitivity, which are necessary for improving the health and well-being of our community,” Charmel said.

The volunteer singers will take part in five, two-hour workshops, culminating in a hand-clapping, foot-stomping, this-couldn’t-possibly-be-Naugatuck-Valley concert of traditional and contemporary gospel and holiday music on Dec. 14. “Our weekly sessions are upbeat, fun and very user-friendly,” Clemmons said, “No one needs to know how to read music. All songs are taught by ear and everyone is given a practice CD. It’s amazing how much the choir learns and how confident they become in five short weeks, particularly when many have never sung gospel before.”

The training sessions will be Nov. 1, 8, 15, and 29, and Dec. 6 from 6:45-8:45 p.m. at Assumption Church in Ansonia.

Volunteers will be asked for a $20 donation to TEAM, Inc. As a provider of services that address the needs of the very young to the very old, and its focus on coordinating with other area services to provide the greatest levels of service, TEAM is seen as perfect beneficiary of the community choir project. TEAM programs reach over 14,000 individuals each year through programs that offer assistance for education and youth, elderly assistance, home heating assistance, housing assistance, financial assistance, and support community and neighborhood needs.

To register or for more information, contact Clemmons at 203-619-1415 or shorelinesoul@comcast.net. Although the workshop is primarily for adults, youth who are able to follow a lyric sheet are welcome to participate.

Griffin’s Annual Holiday Concert is sponsored by the President’s Fund at Griffin Hospital as a thank you to Griffin’s sponsors and the community, and as a celebration of Griffin’s family of employees, medical staff, volunteers, corporators, and trustees for their dedication, compassion and expertise.

Donations for TEAM, Inc. will also be accepted at the concert.

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