Poetic Tongues/Fabu
Precious Memories Choir
Needs Members
, Musicians
and Directors
Those of us who have grown up in spiritual faith well remember the traditional gospel song, “Precious
Memories.” This tender and loving song is accredited to John B.F. Wright who wrote it in 1925 to honor those
memories in life that are both sacred and dear to us. The lyrics remind us that our memories are precious,
especially as we acknowledge that dementia, the disease of memory loss, is prevalent in communities of color.
There is a new musical group forming called Precious Memories Choir for people in Dane County with dementia
and their caregivers.  

The direct inspiration for the choir is the Amazing Grace Chorus from Milwaukee, Wisconsin whose members
sang at the 2019 Solomon Carter Fuller Brunch in Madison.  The Solomon Carter Fuller Brunch is an annual
education event sponsored by the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center to honor Dr. Solomon
Carter Fuller, an African American, who did pioneering work with Dr. Alois Alzheimer in Germany on Alzheimer’s
disease.  The Amazing Grace Chorus, under the direction of Stephanie Houston and sponsored by The
Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute, is a diverse chorus made up of people living with dementia and their

The goal of the Chorus is to increase social engagement for those living with dementia and it began in 2014 in
Milwaukee.  There is also a world-wide movement to connect people with dementia to singing due to its positive
effects and there are national and international musical groups.Three powerful women — Keretha Cash, Edith
Lawrence Hilliard and Katherine Simmons — heard the Amazing Grace Chorus and decided that they wanted to
start a musical group in Madison.  All three of these women sing at their respective churches and are well-
known in the Madison community for being talented leaders in a variety of fields.  

Keretha Cash, from St. Paul A.M.E. Church, has been a singing artist for many years.  She sang and performed
in groups such as Tallahwa, Black Star Reggae, and Goongo Peas. Edith Lawrence Hilliard, from Evangel Life
Church, is best known as an educator, community activist, archivist, family historian and “volunteer queen” who
gives generously of her time to the Madison
community.  Katherine Simmons, from Lake Edge
Lutheran Church, is a retired speech pathologist,
and assistant dean/director of academic
advancement at UW Madison.  She is
also a gifted
quilter who creates amazing pieces.  

With these three organizing and singing in the
Precious Memories Choir, it will make its debut at
the 2020 Solomon Carter Fuller Brunch on Saturday,
March 14, 2020.  Please save the date.The Precious
Memories Choir is still welcoming new members
and its next choir practice will be on Saturday,
December 7, 2 pm at St. Paul A.M.E. Church, 4525
Diamond Drive.  Please feel free to ask questions
from any of the three committee organizers, Ms.
Cash, Ms. Hilliard or Ms. Simmons, when you meet
them at community events.  

For additional information please contact facilitator
Fabu Carter at
fpcarter@medicine.wisc.edu, 608-265-4329.  These
rehearsals provide the opportunity for those with
memory loss and their caregivers to sing joyously