The room was large, but there were only two rows of regular chairs. The rest of the floor was in reserve for residents who would be coming down in wheel chairs. A few were there when we started warmups, which included testing Rene’s latest toy—his portable mike. When Leslie tried it out with Ciribiribim, one of the early-birds mouthed all the words. After the warmups I spoke to a man who was looking through the singalong handout. I said he probably knew some of the songs, and he said, “Oh, yes! Pete Seeger!” He said he hadn’t known about the concert and was “getting ready to turn in,” when someone came by his room and told him about us. “I’m glad I came down,” he said. I pointed out that the concert hadn’t started yet. “Doesn’t matter. You guys are good.” Rene arranged us in a semi-circle so we could hear each other in the spongey (his word) room—first-sopranos facing second-altos across the piano. And then it was time to begin.
Siyahamba, as always, was a great opening. It says to the audience, This is who we are—enthusiastic, fun-loving, energetic. Come into our world. These residents got it. They may not have been physically able to dance in the aisles, but it was obvious from their smiles and participation throughout the concert that they were engaged. They were especially energized by the two singalongs, Rock-a-My-Soul and Down by the Riverside. Rock-a-My-Soul is always my favorite, when we embed ourselves among the audience members and our voices blend with theirs. Tonight I got the feeling that singing was a lost art for some of them—a few didn’t get the courage to join in until the last repetition or two, but when they did, there was such joy on their faces. At the end, a few residents told us that they loved the concert and wished we had had a longer program. They also said they would have liked more singalongs.
This concert was special for me in another way, too. While we sing for our audiences, we also sing for ourselves, and tonight, POHC members were treated to some spectacular performances by our fellow singers. (I don’t think it was just that they used Rene’s new mike.)
Gail and Leslie in Wanemo. Laura and Charlie in You’ve Got a Friend. Leslie in Ciribiribim. Wilfred in Lonesome Road. Barry in a surprise rendition of It Had to Be You. Marv’s piano accompaniment to Light One Candle.
Wonderful concert. For the audience as well as ourselves.
It has become a tradition for a member of POHC to do a post-concert write-up. It started when our Sign-up Coordinator began emailing her summaries to the other members in order to entice newer members to sign-up to sing at community concerts held early in the season. It didn’t take long for Concert Write-ups to become greatly anticipated amongst our members, so we share them here in hopes that you’ll join us at a future concert