A Baby Boomer sings her way to 65


“Sugar Time”

I just received my Medicare card in the mail. I can’t use it until June 1, but it still “freaked” me out. It’s made me face my mortality. On June 24, I will turn the dreaded 65.  I’ve never been one to care about approaching age,  but this year I’ve thought about it a lot.

A few years ago I started looking in the mirror and my older mother and grandmother were staring back at me. Yikes!

Walking into a Senior Center for the first time

I got up the nerve and joined a senior center. When I walked in, I felt really sheepish. I went up to the lady who runs the place and blurted out, “Could you tell me about this senior center. I feel like I’m not old enough to join .” By the knowing look on her face, I think other people have said the same thing to her.

‘You won’t be the youngest one here, our starting age is 55,” she replied. (I later found out she only has a year to go.)

At the center, they play card games, majong, do crafts, and exercise.  I lose at cards, am not crafty,  and still do outdoorsy stuff and attend a health club where i am on the old side.

I do enjoy singing in choirs. I am not a solo singer, but I can carry a tune. Even in the worst of times, I’ve managed to keep singing.

The Golden Clefs

I had a friend tell me about a Senior choir called “The Golden Clefs” that meets in the center. I decided to check it out. Not only was I late, but I tripped into the room after mishandling the lock on the folding door that led into the rehearsal space. The director gave me a big smile and said,  Come on in!”

The leader is one energetic, upbeat senior citizen. The piano player for the choir is a former professional pianist and music teacher. When she tickles those ivories, you can tell she’s not the typical choir accompanist.  She smiles a lot too. The members range in age from the late 60’s to probably the 90’s.

The songs we sing are really old, but I know them all.  My mother loved music,  and I think of her every time we sing some of her favorites.

Serving the community

Twice a month The Golden Clefs go to some kind of nursing home or senior residence center and perform.   I felt a little silly wearing my sparkly golden clef vest for the first time. I kept thinking, what would my adult children say if they saw me wearing this get up?  (Would they start adjusting my seatbelt for me in the car?)

After we arrived at the nursing home, I was pleased to see chairs set up for us. I was a little surprised when I found out we had to stand up for each song. One of the choir members mentioned she graduated high school  in 1946 when one of our  songs, “Cement Mixer” was popular. I wondered how she was going to make it for an hour.

Once we started singing, my uneasiness vanished. Audience members knew some of the songs, and many were softly singing along. People who looked somber began to smile.  A lady, bent over with some malady, got up and started moving to the music.  One of the aides got up and started dancing with her. It was one of those moments you don’t forget.

Suddenly, I heard an alarm go off. It took me a minute to realize it signaled that someone was trying to get out of their wheelchair. The director ignored it, and we just continued singing.

I found out how the director had tackled the standing problem. I was relieved to sit down between some of the numbers. That’s when some choir members got up and did little solos or quartets.  I  hadn’t heard some of these songs in decades. They brought  back cherished memories.

One lady sang “Que Cera Cera” (whatever will be will be). Doris Day sang this song, and it was popular when I was a little girl. I loved it, and remembered singing it with my mother. A quartet sang the 1958 Maguire Sisters hit, “Sugar Time”.  Another group sang “Love Me Tender” by Elvis. The audience really liked that one!

After the performance  was about over, the director asked the audience and choir members if they celebrated their birthday that month. Everyone got to sing “Happy Birthday” and we incorporated those names into the song. This was a big crowd pleaser. Even the most disabled audience members participated. (Who hasn’t had at least one happy birthday?)

After our concert was over, we went into the audience to talk to the residents. A chorus member mentioned to me that touch is so important to these people because when they’re in a facility, they  don’t get much human physical contact.  So, I made it a point to touch people’s hands and give them hugs. A lady , slumped in a wheelchair, grabbed my hand and smiled after I hugged her.

Many people told us how much they enjoyed the show.

So I guess I’ll continue with this for a while, and I’m certain the time will come when I’m not one of the youngest singers. I’m hopeful I can pick up on the happy and energetic attitudes of the members of the choir. I’m betting that when I’m 90, I’ll still want to get up and sing out.

10 things volunteering can do for others and you!


1. There’s nothing like giving to others. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
2. People do need people. Although some animals need help too.
3. Meet other people you wouldn’t ordinarily ever come in contact with.
4. Share your knowledge about something: for example, art, writing, music…
5. Helping older people is a good thing. Some of them are very isolated, and this is not a good way to live. There are many children who need someone too!
6. Put good karma in the universe. ( I’m not sure there is such a thing, but
who knows?)
7. You would be surprised how many people you help will want to pay it forward and help someone else.
8. Maybe learn a new skill while you’re volunteering.
9. Stretch yourself further than you thought was possible.
10. In the process, you will make some good friends.

What have you gotten out of volunteering? Share your experiences and thoughts.

Cassie Taylor to symbolically finish her Boston Marathon exactly one week from the tragedy!


Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

You have to admire people with a fighting spirit. Cassie Taylor was running her first Boston Marathon for a charitable cause and just appeared on CNN. I was impressed with her

 

To honor the victims of the race, there was a few moments of silence at 2:50 P.M. Taylor wanted to get a group together to finish the race. There is nothing like silence to make a statement. But nothing can really make up for the senseless death’s of 4 people, Martin Richard, Sean Collier, Krystle Campbell, and Lingzi lu.

 

Taylor couldn’t get to the real finish line, but she picked a route parallel to it. The real finish line was being secured and off-limits.

 

Taylor pointed out that so many people who run the Boston Marathon were doing it to raise money for different causes: children’s causes, mental health, Cancer, and other meaningful causes.

 

She doesn’t want to let the bomber and his dead brother to ruin the good feelings and intentions of many of the runners. The runners who weren’t just running for themselves, but for their charities.

 

She managed to get 7 other runners to join her. It was a  symbolic finish.

 

I say, good for them. I  admire their fighting spirit!

 

Pleasure Guild’s excellent production of” Peter Pan” provokes memories and thoughts!


Peter Pan 1915 cover 2

Peter Pan 1915 cover 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pleasure Guild sponsored an excellent production of “Peter Pan.”  This is a group that raises money for Children’s Hospital in Columbus. One way they do this is to produce a play.  The play was an amateur production, but seemed professional to me.  I loved it so much I put a few dollars in the Children’s Hospital’s  bucket after the show was over.

All of the actors are amateurs who did a terrific job. The choreography was fantastic. The main characters are all actors who’ve been in productions before, but there were children, who couldn’t have had much experience. The acting and singing were just perfect. They didn’t miss a step or a note!

Emily Cipfiani  who played Peter Pan was convincing.  She had a tremendous voice. (I’d read in The Columbus Dispatch that she suffered from juvenile arthritis. You would never know it by her flying and dancing.)

The actors who played Captain Hook (Doug Joseph)  and Wendy (Kelly Hogan) were particularly talented. They had those characters down perfectly.

I was impressed with everything: scenery, costumes, flying and music.

Thoughts the production provoked

This is a very old story. The first time I watched this I was a little girl. I know I liked it then, but for different reasons. I wanted to be like Wendy and fly. “Never Never Land” seemed appealing to me at the time.  I liked the amusing conflicts between the pirates, Indians and Captain Hook.  Peter Pan made a great hero. I truly believed in Tinkerbell. The music charmed me, just like it did in this production!

Now, that I am getting older, the play hit different chords. Do I wish I could go back to childhood and never grow up? (Maybe just for a day)   Can I even remember what it was like to be a child?  Hardly, but those good memories are ones I treasure.

At the end of the play, the grownups were bemoaning the fact that their children were gone. That touched a nerve. Your children eventually grow up and you and  go barely remember their childhoods. They leave one way or the other. We all want them to grow up, but it is a little sad, just the same.

There’s nothing like a good play to touch your heart.

Good job Pleasure Guild!

Did you see the play? What is your opinion?  What memories does “Peter Pan” evoke for you?

The Harmony Project Singing as One Voice


The Harmony Project.  We are singing Beth Neilson Chapman's "There is no darkness."  Photo by Paul Feeney

The Harmony Project. We are singing Beth Neilson Chapman’s
“There is no darkness.” Photo by Paul Feeney

I’ve been in choirs all my life. I remember how happy I was the first time I officially belonged to a choir. I was in the 5th grade at Rowland Elementary school. I even remember some of the songs we sang for our program.  Miss Titus, our devoted teacher, would probably be thrilled that I remember the words to “The Erie Canal.”

I’ve been in many choirs since then. Singing makes me feel good. I like the social aspects of it too. It’s just plain fun. The Harmony Project, one of the choirs I sing in,  is something special. It’s a philanthropic group that sings and shares. Good works have been done in Columbus, Ohio, under the banner of the “Harmony Project.” We raise money, and get to give concerts too.

Choir Directors always talk about “singing with one voice.”  That is a hard thing to achieve. Sometimes, you have some frustrated singers, with better than average voices, over-singing. At times, what you end up with is  different voices, not blending at all. Sometimes, it reminds me of a competition.  If you have a skillful musical director, they won’t allow this to happen.

Last night at the Harmony Project, everyone was singing enthusiastically while they followed Musical director,  David Brown. In the middle of it all, I said to myself. Wow, this is a once in a lifetime moment. Stay  in the present, listen, to your neighbor, blend in and forget yourself.

It was one of those magical moments. One I’ll always remember. We were all one voice.

Members of The Harmony Project singing with heart and soul!  From the Bill Pearsol album

Members of The Harmony Project singing with heart and soul! From the Bill Pearsol album

Help buy a bike for a foster kid in Columbus Ohio: read about it here! : Another Harmony Project post


Teenagers sharing with People from the Unison Project and Harmony Project

Teenagers sharing with People from the Unison Project and Harmony Project

IF you are one of my followers, you already know about The Harmony Project. It’s a wonderful group that came into my life. It’s a combination of singing (a 200 member choir that performs) and sharing.

Today, we’re buying bikes for foster kids in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a social media event. You can give as little as a dollar, or as much as you want. A woman called the “Bike Lady” purchases bikes for us.  We’re putting resources together to give as many bikes as we can in one day. Join our effort. We know it’s a hard times and the holiday season. But, you can be a part of this. How about feeling terrific for a dollar or two? There’s nothing like it!

Here’s a letter from a foster grandparent

A letter from a foster grandparent…yes, even the smallest contribution can yield a significant return:
“I am writing this letter to encourage you to continue giving our young men the mental, spiritual and material tools they need to prepare them for a better future. The bike is a material thing, but it taught my grandson so much. He learned about sharing and taking care of something he cares about. Most importantly, he learned that people who don’t even know him care about him and other children. I remind him often to pass it forward when he is able. Thank you for your support.
Sincerely, A grateful grandmother”

I get absolutely nothing out of this. But, I’ve gotten so much out of sharing my time and helping. You can too!  Please donate, and if you really want to do a good thing share this over the web today. It’s just plain exciting and fun!

By the way, I intensely dislike  selling stuff or asking for money. I really do. But, this project has given me so much! It’s really a blessing. Now it’s your chance to “pay it forward.”

Trust me, you’ll feel good all day!

On 12/12/12, click http://www.harmonyproject.com/bikes    Here’s the link!