Roll up! Roll up! This is the greatest show on earth, once a year only, with a host of stars, well, almost stars – could have been stars. There we are, every week without fail, singing with heart and soul, 80 plus men and women (of a certain age), all with matchless enthusiasm.
We meet every Thursday morning at Girton Grammar, which has opened its hearts and doors to this choir of rockety retirees, giving us the opportunity to enjoy the comradeship of each other as we sing the rock ‘n’ roll songs of a past era. We are conducted and accompanied on piano by the luminous Laura, head of music in the junior school.
Our indefatigable maestro (maestress?) chooses the songs we sing, and encourages and praises, no matter how terrible we sometimes sound as we learn a new song, and how often we forget our lines.
Laura introduces us to a new repertoire each year; singing in parts, singing alone or with one or two others, singing sexy, raunchy rock ‘n’ roll songs that we haven’t heard for 40 years or more, enjoying every minute of that two-hour practice, until our concert on September 14.
Coffee, tea, and cakes are provided by our ‘roadie’ Marg every week. Marg no longer has children at Girton but she is as much a part of us as we are of her, organising a myriad of details in managing our choir.
Dr Dingle (University of Queensland) has written that groups like our choir are an essential part of an effective mental health system. He said; “We’re studying a choir to see if attending community groups can improve overall health and well-being. To date, the study has shown that decreasing social isolation through creative endeavours can enhance self-esteem, which in itself guards people against depression and can improve overall health.”
Well, we concur wholeheartedly.
The results are impressive, as a choir member himself identifies with these claims at our Forever Young choir.
“I love choir days,” he told a local reporter.
“I live for Thursdays; catching up with new friends, singing songs and having fun. Choir makes me feel amazing. I wish it was three days a week instead of one.”
Our choir has the privilege of sharing the whole experience with the Girton rock band (Contrabandd) and Girton string orchestra. The orchestra accompanies our choir in all of our songs and provides extra singers for special songs.
With Barcelona we are joined by the beautiful voices of two VCE students. A young boy joins one of our tenors Peter in singing, I wanna be like you, which is simply great fun. Two of our oldest members, Marta and Frank, have a ball singing, I wonder (Rodriguez). We acknowledge the deaths of Bowie and Prince in our repertoire.
The finale is our anthem. Our young musicians move to front of stage to take their bow and turn to us. We sing them our anthem - the song Forever Young (Bob Dylan).
Not only are we giving our blessing to these talented young people but through them to all young people. It is my favourite part of the evening.
Our voices soar: “May God bless and keep you always. May your wishes all come true. May you always do for others and let others do for you.”
Join us on Wednesday, September 14, along with guest performer Wilbur Wilde (Skyhooks). Wilde will accompany us and play a selection of his own songs. Normie Rowe last year, Wilbur Wilde this year. Who will share this stage with us next year?