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Nogales seniors find community through song

One of the Nogales Senior Center directors says its choir and other programs provide a community for seniors in Santa Cruz County
Posted at 4:19 PM, Jul 01, 2024

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN) — On Mondays and Fridays, the Nogales Senior Center fills up with music.

A group of about a dozen local seniors gather to form their choir, led by a teacher. Some are soloists, while others are in the chorus.

"It's a very bright group, we are full of life," David Valenzuela said. "The teacher tells us to sing from the heart, to sing with feeling for all of the seniors."

David Valenzuela
David Valenzuela sings a solo.

His wife, Cecilia, says it has become the perfect retirement activity.

"I always liked music, but I never had the time to do it," she said. "Me and my husband joined and we are very happy."

Cecilia Valenzuela
Cecilia Valenzuela

At the Senior Center, choir is just one of many activities provided. Bingo and the exercise classes are also very popular.

All of them are provided for free thanks to government grants.

One of the center's directors says the choir and other programs help to create community.

“One of the big problems in the United States is loneliness. People don’t know who to be with, or what to do when they’re by themselves. So we create that space for them," said Dr. Arnoldo Montiel.

Senior Choir

Most importantly, creating a place to be happy together.

"This is their second home, they come laugh, eat and talk, it's a wonderful place to be," Montiel said. "A happy place."

Adam Klepp is a reporter for KGUN 9. At his previous station in Yuma, Adam focused on a range of local issues including the border, water rights and healthcare. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan, and attended both Loyola University Chicago and Syracuse University. Share your story ideas and important issues with Adam by emailing or by connecting on Twitter.