On Sunday, December 15, 2013, the 35 senior citizens who make up the Young@Heart Chorus stepped off the bus as Hatboro-Horsham High School students escorted them into their school. This was the second time the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation hosted the Young@Heart Chorus, with this year’s theme being “This is Getting Old.”
The chorus and their six-piece band delighted the audience with their renditions of hits from the last four decades. From Bob Dylan to Donna Summer to The Kinks, each member had an opportunity to step up to the microphone for a solo or duet. The ensemble changed from denim to sequins for the second set as they sang under a sparkling disco ball. Director Bob Cilman became more engaged as the show went on, joining them in song by the end. “I loved every minute of it,” said Esther Sobel, of Berwyn, PA, who brought her 93-year-old mom, Anita Lipson. “We were amazed at how long they stood, with beautiful posture, while belting out wonderful music. We can’t stop smiling.”
After the two-hour performance, the chorus, whose average age is 81, joined guests in the high school cafeteria for a dessert reception. The senior citizen members of the chorus mingled and shared their experiences, particularly how they were selected for Young@Heart. The chorus practices several hours a week and travel the world, performing for audiences of all ages.
The next morning, Young@Heart arrived at Keith Valley Middle School to meet with 6th Grade Chorus members. The two musical groups shared lively conversation and enjoyed lunch together in the school library. After lunch, they all gathered in the auditorium where they were accompanied by the Young@Heart band. Keith Valley choral instructors Mindy Rubinlicht and Meghan May joined Young@Heart Director, Bob Cilman and lead the combined group in a medley that included songs by Michael Jackson, Todd Rundgren, The Beatles, along with some holiday songs.
According to their teacher, Meghan May, “The students witnessed, firsthand, the power of music and how it transcends generations. The KV students and Young@Heart members exchanged fun choral warm-ups and shared soloists in a variety of songs. The students were able to experience singing with the Young@Heart band (guitar, drums and piano) while dancing with friends and the Young@Heart members. It was the perfect way to wrap up the holiday concert season and share music with singers from different generations!”