About Us

Victory Chorus volunteers smiling behind a refreshment table at an event, promoting a sense of community and fellowship.

Victory Chorus Story

Victory Chorus is a signature program of the Victory Fund. The Victory Fund, located in Duluth, Minnesota, was established in 2012 to help communities in northeastern Minnesota identify, address and resolve chronic health issues. The Victory Fund has two key priorities: dementia and addiction recovery.

The Victory Fund launched Dementia Friendly Duluth in 2016 with the goal to make the community more aware, informed, sensitive, and supportive of people experiencing and caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

A group of Victory Chorus members sitting and attentively listening, reflecting the inclusive and engaging environment of the chorus.
A Victory Chorus member wearing a lei and smiling broadly, embodying the celebratory and welcoming spirit of the choir.

Victory Chorus grew out of the collaborative work of Dementia Friendly Duluth and launched its first season in 2019. The Choir took a brief hiatus from choral work during the pandemic but continued to provide services through a sing-along program that reached out to assisted living and memory care facilities throughout the community.

Victory Chorus resumed in the fall of 2022 with two choral groups: the Victory Chorus at Benedictine Health and the Victory Chorus Community Choir. The Victory Chorus provides a safe, loving, and supportive space that welcomes people living with dementia to engage in their community, build connections, use their gifts, and experience JOY.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you're curious about our origin, rehearsals, or support for those facing dementia, find quick answers to popular questions.

How is the Victory Chorus different from other choral groups?

The Victory Chorus is made up of participants (people living with dementia or other cognitive impairment), their care partners, and volunteer singers.  Each participant has a minimum of one singing partner with the goal of a safe, inclusive, and supportive choral and social experience.  The focus of the Victory Chorus is creating a space that is joyful for all, but especially for those living with dementia.

Do you have to have experience singing in a choir to join the Victory Chorus?

There are no formal criteria for joining the Victory Chorus, just a love of music.  The Victory Chorus aims to create a safe, welcoming space to be social and help reduce the stigma surrounding dementia and other aging brain conditions. Research shows that the benefits of taking part in community singing can greatly improve mental and social well-being. Group singing also fosters confidence, friendship, and self-worth.

How is it helpful for Caregivers to be part of the Victory Chorus?

The act of singing can improve relationships between people living with dementia and their caregivers and loved ones. This is because it draws out emotions, stimulates memory, and involves creating new, shared experiences.  A singing group or choir can offer a valuable support network to family, friends and care partners and a place to meet and share experiences with others. Care partners can include spouses, friends, adult children or grandchildren, siblings, or any persons whom the person living with dementia trusts and feels secure with. Ideally, the singer with dementia will be assigned a singing partner, a volunteer who assists the singer during rehearsals so that the care partner can enjoy the choral experience or take the opportunity for respite.

How does being part of the choir benefit people living with dementia?

More social interaction: Inclusive group singing provides an ideal opportunity for social interaction. It can be a place where this takes place naturally without stigma or embarrassment.

Less stress: The focus involved in taking part in group singing mans it can ease aggression or agitation. It may also reduce anxieties and stress.  In a study from Finland, memory and mood in people living with dementia significantly improved when they took part in regular singing or listening to music.

What is a Victory Chorus rehearsal like?

Rehearsals are a place where singers and their care partners can experience joy, social interaction, and singing with others.  Each rehearsal is working towards the goal of a Celebration of Song which is held at the end of each 10-12 week session. Rehearsals are held weekly, including an hour of singing together followed by 30-45 minutes of social time where people can get to know each other and build new friendships.  A typical rehearsal includes the following:

  • An opening song for warm-up
  • Work on new songs for each session
  • A “Move and Groove” stretch and move break
  • Announcements
  • Closing song

Is every rehearsal the same with the choir having to “re-learn” the music every week?

There is some repetition each week but there is a process of learning the music and we work on specific musical pieces each week.  Choir members are given CDs or flash drives with the music for each session so that everyone can listen and practice music during the week which helps them retain what they have learned and be prepared for the next rehearsal.

How is the Victory Chorus different than a sing-along?

The Victory Chorus offers a different level of commitment and a depth of learning and participation. Sing-alongs use well-known songs and usually people sing only the melody in a relatively casual setting.The Victory Chorus teaches music to singers in a sequential manner; choir members are encouraged to practice and learn the music utilizing two or three part harmony. We ask that singers commit to practicing with the chorus for an entire session leading up to a performance in our“Celebration of Song”held at the end of the session.

Photo Gallery

Explore the heartwarming moments and vibrant community spirit through our Victory Chorus photo gallery – a visual celebration of joy, connection, and the power of music.

About Us
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The Victory Chorus offers Dementia friendly singing programs at two locations in the Duluth community.

Community Chorus

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth
835 W College St
Duluth MN 55811

Benedictine Chorus

Benedictine Health Center
935 Kenwood Ave
Duluth MN 55811

Still have questions?

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Three female choir members of the Victory Chorus laughing joyfully during a rehearsal, highlighting the happiness music brings.