The Chime Strokers tone chime choir is sponsored by Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp, based in Peoria, Illinois. Music has always been an important part of Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camps. A music therapist is hired for each camp and leads singing, drum circles, and instrument playing during the camp weekend. Several camp music therapists during 2010 brought hand chimes with them, thus allowing the campers to experience making beautiful music with little effort. They are a perfect instrument for a stroke survivor, since only one hand is needed to play a chime.
Monica Vest Wheeler, the camp’s administrative guru, saw the need for the camp to purchase its own set of chimes so that all camps could experience them. She posted on her blog that she wanted to raise enough money to purchase a set of chimes for Retreat & Refresh. Within days, there was enough money donated to purchase a set (sets cost over $1000)!!! What a response! The chimes were incorporated into the Lewistown camps in the fall of 2010.
The campers loved them, and some suggested that it would be nice to form a chime choir in the Peoria area. Several campers even committed themselves to being in the choir! That fall of 2010, the choir met a few times and played at a camp fundraiser in October.
In January of 2011, the group officially began practicing on a weekly basis and named themselves the Chime Strokers. Since 2011, the chimers have continued to rehearse and perform at various locations in Peoria, including OSF St. Francis Hospital, Senior Olympics, churches, luncheons, business networking groups, nursing homes, and more in the Peoria community.
The group is directed by Lauren Kramer, a music therapist.