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Lynne Rahmeier at the Jenks Center where Sounds of Grace sometimes sings. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/JOYCE WESTNER

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Singers gotta sing, right?  And when former Winchester Public School Director of Music Lynne Rahmeier retired, she was ready to keep singing.  At first she decided that anyone who wanted to sing should come to her living room, but “they had to bring someone I hadn’t met,” she says.

The group sang monthly and Rahmeier was trying to figure out what else to do in her life, when member Claire Keane said she’d seen a documentary about the Hollowell Choir in Vermont.  When Rahmeier listened to their CD, she said to herself, “That’s it!”  And Sounds of Grace was born.

According to the group’s website, the mission is to provide “beautiful music to those in hospice or palliative care in group or private homes and to draw singers from all faith traditions, ages, races, and experiences, thereby reaching out to the broader care community and encouraging dialogue about a caring and conscious approach to dying.”

We advertised, Rahmeier says, “I went to each house of worship in town, not only to recruit singers but to find out if they had needs.” 

They got 30 members, including “the best bass in town,” says Rahmeier — her late husband Paul. 

The group sings in hospice facilities and through word of mouth, some of their members will sing in private homes for someone who’s sick or dying. During the height of the COVID pandemic, they sang in the First Congregational Church garden. 

They also sing in nursing homes, or at retirement communities like The Gables in Winchester or New Horizons in Woburn. They even sing at the Jenks Center.  And they sing at funerals of people they know. 

If folks want to have them sing, Rahmeier says they can send an email, the address of which is on their website. 

Rahmeier and her husband moved to Winchester years ago so she could study with a musician in Medford. 

Why Winchester? 

“Because we had children in kindergarten, third grade and sixth grade, and we knew the schools were good,” she says.

At that time, the Lynch School was a junior high and they needed a choral teacher — she got the job and stayed in the system until retiring in 2005.

Like a lot of choirs, Sounds of Grace is a bit short on tenors and basses, but getting new members is tricky, according to Rahmeier. 

“We have a repertoire of about 45 songs, and we don’t rehearse, so a new member would have to be able to sight read,” she says.

When asked her favorite song, she reacted that it would be like naming a favorite child. But she admitted she loves both “Going Home” and the Nigerian hymn, “Ise Oluwa,” meaning God’s good work will never be destroyed.

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