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They don’t write ’em like they used to …

May 23, 2013

As I start this post I’m unsure what exactly it is I want to write about.  Yes, I love to show videos of my singers but I also want to add something about how important I think it is 1) to keep these old classics alive  2) for children to volunteer.

In March 2013 my singing troop performed a ‘Golden Era’ show for the residents of a local retirement centre.  As always, I receive full support from my singer’s families particularly for this show (extra rehearsals!) as it’s a wonderful opportunity to perform for a crowd where it’s more about the audience than the performers.  As I put this show together and hand out songs to my students, I discuss with them how this is their way of giving back to the community.  Giving the gift of music where it is very much needed.

While my singers are performing I love to watch the audience, inparticular this audience as their faces show how much they love to hear and appreciate these young performers singing the songs of their youth.  It’s a wonderful thing as a singer to bring back memories through music.  After the show, the residents enjoy telling their stories of what these songs meant to them.

The songs I selected are from the 1920’s-1950’s.  The 1900’s with it’s music hall culture was the beginning of ‘pop’ (popular) songs which made way for broadway-style musicals of the 1920’s and eventually evolving into musicals on film.   The Katy Perry of their day were Judy Garland, The Andrew Sisters and Billie Holiday.  Fred Astaire and Frank Sinatra were the equivalent of Justin Bieber.  Songwriters Cole Porter and George Gershwin were as famous as the singers they wrote for.  While my students may prefer to sing modern songs I feel it’s my duty to teach them these classics so that they aren’t completely forgotten.

I don’t think my singers fully understand how much joy they are bringing to these residents or how they are unknowingly going to be passing on these classics to the next generation.   But I like to think they will appreciate it when they are older and that maybe one day they’ll say “they don’t write ’em like they used to”.

In April we were asked back by the residential home to perform a smaller show for the long-term residents.  Nearly all the residents turned out for this show.  There is nothing more flattering that a ‘full house’!  Here is Emma singing a snippet from Top Hat …

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