With a song in their hearts

May 20th, 2015 | By | Category: Spotlight

Every Monday from September to the end of May, the Memorie Singers meet to rehearse for upcoming performances.
The group, comprised of folks who are at least 55 and have a love and talent for singing, are serious about their craft. That being said, they also have a lot of fun with it.
Musical Director Cyndie Carr sang in choruses and played in bands and orchestras most of her life and admits that her new role is a bit challenging, but she loves it.
“I do enjoy what I’m doing,” she said.
The Memorie Singers perform at nursing facilities, retirement centers, hospitals, adult daycare centers and more throughout the year, and their rendition of songs from the past bring smiles to the faces of the residents.
“The expression on their faces – it is really wonderful,” said Carr.
Currently the group is practicing like mad to be ready for its yearly performance on June 13 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Tacoma Musical Playhouse, located at 7116 Sixth Ave. in Tacoma. The show, titled “Way Way Way Way off Broadway,” will feature Broadway songs most everyone can relate to. The TotemAires and the Out of Time Gospel singers will also perform.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. All money raised by the performance will be donated to Tacoma Musical Playhouse’s Scholarship Fund. Tickets can be purchased in advance from any member of the group, by calling Doris Leister at 253-472-1208, or at the door on the day of the performance.
Leister, has been with the Memorie Singers for about four years, “saw them sing at St. Ann’s Convent, and after the performance I asked them, ‘How do you get into this group?’ and they said ‘Just show up for practice.’
“We sing because we like to sing,” Leister added.
Suzanne Tate said she has been a member for about a year and enjoys the diversity of folks who participate.
“It was so easy to join,” she said. “People are very friendly.”
At a recent practice session, the Memorie Singers belted out tunes such “Memories,” “Another Opening-Another Show,” and “Put on a Happy Face.”
Male and female voices blended and chimed in at just the right moment, practicing tunes over and over until they were satisfied. Carr sat up front, her glasses balanced precariously on her nose, directing, explaining and giving directions. The group did a lot of laughing.
“We are just learning some of the songs, but by show time, it will be much better,” said Carr.
One member of the group arrived late, but as she rushed through the door, she was already singing along.
When they sang “Easter Parade,” it was with gusto and enthusiasm. Singing along with everyone else was 96-year-old Bill Parks, who joined the Memorie Singers in 1970 and is still a regular member.
Piano players are hard to come by for the Memorie Singers, and they value their current players, Vivian Skagerberg and Carol Benton. Skagerberg and Benton take turns playing, and when they aren’t working the piano, they are singing right along with the group.
Outfits for performances vary with the season. Leister said the basic outfit is black slacks and a white shirt, with the vests changing color throughout the year.
“Cyndie tells us to wear all the gold jewelry we own,” said Leister laughing.
The group gets a real kick out of performing and looks forward to the yearly appearances at the playhouse.
“It is fun being on stage,” said Leister. “Our grandkids are waving and everyone smiles. All of our lives, we watched the movies and never dreamed of being on stage, and now we are there performing and people are applauding.”

Joan Cronk, who wrote this article, is a freelance writer.

Patrick Lemon (third from left in front row), whose father was once a Memorie Singer, likes “that we are bringing music to people who really enjoy hearing it.” Lemon is seen rehearsing with (front, from left) 96-year-old Bill Parks, Cliff Chapman and Rudy Horst, and (second row, from left) Phyllis Horst and Tony Baskett. (Joan Cronk/Senior Scene)

Patrick Lemon (third from left in front row), whose father was once a Memorie Singer, likes “that we are bringing music to people who really enjoy hearing it.” Lemon is seen rehearsing with (front, from left) 96-year-old Bill Parks, Cliff Chapman and Rudy Horst, and (second row, from left) Phyllis Horst and Tony Baskett. (Joan Cronk/Senior Scene)

 

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