Thursday, December 25, 2008

Glee club interviewed on local radio!!

The launch of the c.d. at Hilda Ross On Monday Dec 22nd was so exciting, with 90 people turning up to the launch and selling 1/3 of the c.d.s on the day. Then Tuesday Dec 23rd two of the Glee Club members (Keith Aikin and Ngaire Fraser) accompanied me to the Community Radio station to be interviewed about the project. The recordings have been done via the programmes on my Mac computer, Garageband, and iTunes. It is definitely a live recording, perhaps next time we will get into a studio, but for a first recording after just two years of the group, it is great!!

Here is the link for you to listen to the interview.

Community Radio Interview

For those who would like to purchase a copy of the c.d. from outside of Hamilton, please look for my work email address by going to and searching for me, and emailing me. I will send you, post-free a copy of the c.d..

It has also been exciting to see the opportunities that are opening up for the Glee Club. At the 2010 Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival Glee Club will be joining with a local primary school choir to present a concert, which will be a great experience, especially the preparation for this project. In addition I have been invited to present to the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Retirement Villages Managers forum in March, and two more of the Glee Club members will accompany me there as well, participant voice is paramount in my research, and ongoing work with the Hilda Ross Glee Club.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The cd is here!!!

The box of completed Hilda Ross Glee Club c.d.s arrived today, and I have one right here, right now. It is very exciting and is already leading to so much more.

There is going to be an official launch of the new c.d. at the Hilda Ross Complex on Monday Dec 22nd at 2:30p.m. Glee Club will sing, and we will play tracks off the c.d.. We are expecting to have press coverage of this event, and sell a good proportion of the c.d.s on the day. It may turn out that 150 was too conservative a number to have made.

The Glee Club will be on community radio (AM1206 or FM106.7) on Tuesday evening Dec 23rd between 5 and 6 during the Arts hour. Keith (85) has agreed to go with me, and one of the women will self select tomorrow. We will be able to play one or two tracks, and the participants will be able to talk about the experience of making the c.d., and of being involved in Glee Club.

At Arts Waikato Christmas party yesterday I was talking to Alana MacKay, Festival manager for the Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival, and we have put in place a combined concert with Glee Club and a local primary school choir yet to be approached, for the Summer festival 2010 This annual festival is a BIG event on the Hamilton Calendar.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hilda Ross Glee Club c.d.

.. is scheduled to arrive in Hamilton in time for the Town House Luncheon at Hilda Ross on Friday, I feel a launch party coming on!! The Glee Club members live in the town houses and the apartments, and will all be there to receive their own copy as well as buy other copies for friends and family.

We will launch the c.d. with suitable fanfare, I will take my purple trumpet!!!

It is my intention to link some of the sound tracks to my blog so that you can listen to them, also to set up a mechanism whereby you can purchase copies of the c.d., should you choose to, for $10:00

The Zimmers

The Zimmers are another example of this growing phenomenon of singing with the aged. It's take a bit of sleuthing but I have discovered how this group came about. Many of you would have seen Geriatric1927 in some Telecom adverts. If you haven't look for him in Youtube. His real name is Peter and he has been posting there now for around two years, giving commentary on his view of life and getting a large following. This is a delightful story as well as a great video clip!

The BBC got hold of geriatric1927 and were working with him about getting involved with programmes not for self-glorification or fame and not for money, but to get blogging (weblog similar to what you are now reading) ‘out there’. The next step seems to be a bit of a leap, but the plan was made to gather a group together to record a cover version of the song 'Talking'bout my generation". The original group numbered between twenty and twenty-five (according to Peter) . I am not sure how they were selected, apparently some of them attended the two-day recording session with medics on hand. They recorded in the Abbey Road Recording studio, with the best recording people available, including help from the Fame Academy Voice Coaches.

The resultant release went way up in the charts in Britain and Europe, and all proceeds from the sales goes to Age Concern in Great Britian.

Since then they have appeared on television, toured in Germany and now number around fourty singers with an average age of 78.

Here is their website:

The Zimmers

Here is the video of the first song

Talkin' 'bout my generation

Friday, December 12, 2008

INsite article has appeared!!

An article first written a year ago after I presented at the NZ Association of Gerontology's annual conference about the Hilda Ross Glee Club, and the Glee Club performed. The article 'fell under the radar', and it is even better that it appeared now as it ties on with the young at heart movie being viewed and my decision to give this area of research my full attention. Already the article has generated response. I have been invited to speak to the Retirement Villages Association quarterly retirement village forum in Mt Maunganui next March. I also need to start codifying my programme so that I can deliver it such a way that it is comprehensive and, able to be duplicated. Even over lunch discussions today here at the University I was hearing about singing at a retirement complex, which is a pianist playing ,and residents 'sing if you like', when my experience shows that singing in this context can be made so much richer for the participants, with exponential benefits to their wellbeing.

To reach the INsite magazine

I took a singing session with the Rest Home singers yesterday. I had not seen them for some weeks, with work commitments getting in the way, and they were delighted to see me, many telling me how much they had missed me. I attribute that to two things: the enjoyment that the singing engenders, but also that I interact with them, talk with them, get them to choose songs, joke with them, sing along with them, but also play and listen to them and admire their singing. Because they know (if they remember) that I do that, many of them put more energy into their singing. Nell is one of the Rest Home singers. I have put up a photo of her (age 89) and me at the Rest Home's Christmas dinner, at which I played piano.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Glee Club C.D.

The Hilda Ross Glee Club spend last Thursday afternoon singing for three hours to try and complete our planned c.d. With the air conditioning being turned off because it was too noisy, and everyone dripping it was quite a marathon, but we hung in there. Because of technical problems four of the eleven songs need to be re-recorded, but by the end of this week the c.d. will be completed and in the hands of the participants. The c.d cover was designed at the weekend with help from my apple expert nephew-in-law Darren. When it is completed it will be sent to community and national radio station to see what the response is. I am very pleased with the overall result of the live recording, and it will be a good measure of the progress from year to year. Of note is that the average age of the Glee Club is 78.5, so they are 'younger' than the young'at'heart group :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Silver Belles

Five African-American women who danced in the clubs in Harlem during the second world war formed themselves into a group in 1985 and have been dancing their way into the limelight. Now aged 84 - 96 they are the feature of a movie entitled Been rich all my life which seems a bit of a parallel with young@heart, but with dancers rather than singers. The addition of racial tension makes their story that much more interesting.

The website for the Silver Belles

American Thanksgiving Concert: Hamilton Chorale

Another concert series has come and gone for the (this concert) 25-voice Hamilton Chorale. It was a demanding programme, but we wowed two audiences with songs from George and Ira Gershwin, and Irving Berlin, culminating in God Bless America. Our soloist, June Dams, who also sang with us last year said that she noticed how much better the choir was , which was a fillip for us all.

The choir had gone through a torrid month leading up to this weekend's concerts, in which a husband of one member, a daughter of another member and a son of husband-and-wife members all passed away. All four choir members did sing in both concerts, and I will be seeking the whole choir's feedback on what singing in the choir has been for them this year, with particular interest in these four responses.

The choir really does act as a family, and everyone plays a part in rehearsals, with setting up the church's seats for the sections, providing me with water to drink, moving the piano and putting it away. Then for concerts, it is seating for the choir on the stage, moving the church's furniture off and on the stage area, and for our Sunday afternoon concert providing and setting up for afternoon tea for choir and audience. I have posted a delightful photograph of two of the choir's senior members, who set up and put away the tables for the afternoon tea, following our Sunday Concert.