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Photo by Broadmead resident Erroll Hay

Singing the Praises of Kathie Metz

By Hillary Barry

Broadmead chorus director Kathie Metz is a natural musician with a rich background in performance and teaching. Her parents and grandparents were singers, pianists, and organists, and Kathie’s own career has been long and varied. She was full-time church organist and director of adult and youth choirs and handbell ensembles at Towson United Methodist Church. She has sung with The Baltimore Choral Arts Society, in recital at Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church, and performed as organist at several ordination services at the Washington National Cathedral.

Since retiring from full-time music ministry, she has played in concerts and services at several Baltimore-area churches. After Kathie was enticed to come to Broadmead to direct the residents’ chorus, it didn’t take long for her to know this opportunity was a “calling, perfect for this time in my life.”

The BRA-supported chorus began modestly, with 15 or 16 residents and no sheet music. The participation of Broadmead resident Jackie Stokes, a talented pianist, helped to invigorate the project. There are now 35 choristers. Through Kathie, several non-residents also have found their way to the chorus. Members have diverse musical backgrounds: some are experienced singers who can read music, while others develop and hone their skills within the chorus.

Kathie is exacting, yet full of affirming energy, patience, and good humor. She maintains that everyone can respond to the rich canon of music and learn to sing together. It is her job, she says, to “sell” a piece of music to the group in order for them to meet the challenges of learning music with positivity as well as hard work. “My goal, always, is for people to experience the pleasure of beautiful music, and to have the satisfaction of time well spent,” Kathie said. “I want singers to have a good time during rehearsals.”

Research has shown that choral singing encourages connection and optimism, and it contributes to healthy, vibrant aging. People who sing in choruses benefit by feeling less isolated and more purposeful, and are thought to have better mental health.

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