On the surface, Patty Houtz and Claudio Santos appear to have little in common. Patty hails from Everton, a tiny Midwest town in southwest Missouri. Claudio was born and raised in Brazil, the largest country in South America. Claudio, a self-proclaimed “workaholic,” spent most of his career as an engineer for the 3M Corporation in Brazil. Patty taught music to grades K-12 in the public school system.
Both Patty and Claudio ended up in Utah, and both now live in the retirement community of Sagewood at Daybreak. But the real tie that binds these two individuals is their faith — and the heavenly voices that gave each of them the opportunity to share their faith with others while singing as part of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.
“It was a spiritual experience the entire time,” says Patty. “I was just on a cloud for nearly five years.”
Both Patty and Claudio began their respective journeys with the choir in their later years. Patty was 55 when her late husband suggested she take early retirement from teaching and try out for the choir. Even though she was emotional and “cried the whole time,” her audition was a success.
“As we were leaving, the conductor shook my hand and said to me, ‘I have a feeling this is something that’s meant for you,’” says Patty. “So, it wasn’t just singing, it was a spiritual thing.”
Claudio was 49 when an unexpected phone call changed everything.
“One day the telephone rang, and a lady said, ‘Claudio Santos, would you like to sing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?’ I said to her, ‘What kind of joke is that?’”
It was no joke. Claudio was appointed to his position near the back of the choir and he remained there for 14 years. He chuckles when he says, “They forgot me back there — I was too old to be singing.”
Both Patty and Claudio have now retired their singing voices for the most part, but their faith is still strong. Since Sagewood has an on-property branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, both continue to be involved with church and attend services every Sunday.
As do their Sagewood friends of differing faiths.
“Some of our best friends are of other faiths,” said Patty. “They offer transportation to other churches in the area.”
Both Patty and Claudio recognize that their voices were a gift, and it allowed them the opportunity to share their faith with people from around the world. Today, they are grateful for continued gifts from above: Patty recently found love again and remarried after losing her first husband some time ago. In August, Claudio will celebrate 104 years of life — a life made better by friends, family and faith.
Sagewood at Daybreak is hosting an Open House on Saturday, July 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tour the property and see how Sagewood supports faith and spirituality for all its residents.
For more information, visit lifeatsagewood.com or call 801-938-9389.