work for Senior Song Fest began in 1990 from
coursework at the University of Oregon School of
Music where Jo Maitland Geltner was studying with
Randall Moore. Data was collected and written into
an article published in Journal of Music Therapy
Based on data in the article, Jo and Randall began
compiling popular songs over the years in hopes of
assembling a songbook for seniors that would provide
hours of enjoyable entertainment for all groups and
generate excellent music-making experiences that
build happy times through singing.
Research indicates that vocal ranges diminish with
age. Songs in Senior Song Fest are transposed to
lower keys to make them easier to sing for aging
voices. In addition, mature singers require larger
print for readability; hence we decided to make our
music more accessible, so larger print is used
throughout the songbook. Song tunes and lyrics are
formatted so that no page turns are necessary.
The collection includes folk songs, popular romantic
tunes, patriotic and spiritual hymns, courting
songs, hit tunes from stage and film, and songs for
dancing and marching. Lyrics vary from humorous to
sentimental and light-hearted to introspective.
This online collection is produced in memory of Jo
Maitland Geltner (1955-2008) who dedicated her life
to serving senior citizens and led countless
sessions of group singing with seniors. May her
generous spirit live on through music-making.