Friday, March 23, 2012

Young at Heart Chorale

Directed by Jodi Tassos, the Young at Heart Chorale is a dynamic group of seniors ages 55 and over who love to sing. Their repertoire covers many styles and genres but specializes in favorite standards and show tunes. This group presents programs for a variety of community organizations throughout Central Florida.

Young at Heart rehearses at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park (225 S. Interlachen Avenue) in the Fellowship Hall, an easily accessible room on the first floor. I wasn't sure where Fellowship hall was, so I wandered into the church office and a secretary guided me down the hall to the singing rehearsal. I could hear the harmonious voices echo down the hall. Rehearsals are on Tuesday afternoons from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuition is $50.00 per semester and best of all, there’s no audition necessary! The Young at Heart Chorale maintains a busy performance schedule throughout the year, as well as a busy social calendar.

On the day I went by to sketch, George Sumrall was playing piano. He was filling in for Gail Fote who usually played, but she was on vacation. Chere Force had given me the tip about this singing group and when I entered the hall, I saw her and waved. She came over before I started to sketch and welcomed me. Jodi noticed me and asked, "Do you intend to sing." Flustered, I said, "No, I don't want to throw anyone off, I'm here to sketch." Jodi was delighted. She shouted out, "Remember everyone, smile and look like your having fun, because you're being sketched!"

The group began by singing "Alexander's Rag Time Band." When they started singing "Putting on the Ritz", I couldn't help myself and I sang along. I figured, singing off key with "putting on the Ritz" was kind of expected. My monstrous singing put the Young Frankenstein to shame. Other show tunes included, "I dream of Genie" and "Beautiful Dreamer." The singer seated directly in front of me was very serious and he often offered advice when he felt a harmony was off pitch. Jodi would run the group through that section again till it felt right. What she stressed more than anything, was, "Have fun!"


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