Young at Heart
Years ago when I lived in Hatfield, Massachusetts, my partner and I celebrated our first home together by going out to First Night Celebrations in another nearby town. We had tickets to see a community musical group that my neighbor had joined and he was performing with that evening. You may have heard of “The Young At Heart Chorus.”
Here is an excerpt from their web page:
When Bob Cilman and Judith Sharpe organized the Young@Heart (Y@H) in 1982 all of the members lived in an elderly housing project in Northampton, MA called the Walter Salvo House. The first group included elders who lived through both World Wars. One of our members had fought in the Battle of the Somme as a 16-year-old and another, Anna Main, lost her husband in the First World War. Anna was a stand-up comic who at 88 told jokes that only she could get away with. She sang with us until she was 100. We celebrated her 100th birthday with a parade downtown. We actually had to reschedule the parade for a year later when her family informed us that we had the date wrong and she was only 99. This initial group also included Diamond Lillian Aubrey who came on our first two European tours and wowed the audiences with her deadpan version of Manfred Mann’s “Doo Wah Diddy”. In later years she appeared “on stage” via video, performing the Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.
“…The current performers in Young@Heart range in age from 73 to 89. There are some with prior professional theater or music experience, others who have performed extensively on the amateur level, and some who never stepped onto a stage before turning eighty. None of the current performers of Y@H were part of the original group that formed in 1982, but they have kept alive the spirit of the early pioneers and continue to push the group into glorious new directions.” -Bob Cilman
They have gone on to perform on television. I last saw them on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. They have had several performances in Europe and David Byrne of the Talking Heads requested to record with them. I am looking forward to their return to Northampton and plan to go see them soon with my Mom, niece and great-niece. None of the members are the same as the last time I saw them in person, but I am looking forward to seeing them perform.
Below are a few of their videos. They have a documentary that actually won an Oscar in the documentary category.
**This first video is one of my favorites. It features my neighbor, Fred who died a few years back. The man who was supposed to sing this with him as a duet had died earlier that week. Fred was our postmaster for years… lovely man…
**The Ellen Show
**Bob Silvani was the man who was supposed to sing with Fred in the first video.
*Some may argue that this is not necessarily something learned… If that’s the case, consider what it takes for people in this age group to practice and perform and how much we could learn from them.