It was at one of those rehearsals a few weeks ago that I was recently invited to play piano at the Mesa Active Adult Center for a sing-along group that meets every Friday. Their normal pianist would be gone, so they needed a substitute for that day. I was interested--especially because I love learning old songs. Even so, I wanted to know what I was getting into, so I asked if I could come and watch before the date they needed me. So I went last Friday on a scouting mission and I had no idea what to expect, but I showed up with an open mind.
First of all, Connie, their normal pianist, turned out to be blind. But don't let that fool you: she was very good. And I was especially impressed with her knowledge of these songs, which she pulled effortlessly from her memory. Their theme was Irving Berlin songs, most of which I didn't know. But these old timers knew them like I know Beatles tunes, and they were clearly having a lot of fun singing them. I took a lyric sheet and joined in to the best of my ability. In particular there was a sweet old couple sitting in the back that were smiling at each other as they sang the lyrics to the romantic songs. They definitely don't make them like they used to...
All in all, it was a lot of fun. There's nothing like making music to bring people together. CD players just don't cut it. Afterwards, the man who runs the group gave me a folder with two dozen songs in it to learn for this Friday. I'm glad I got the music ahead of time; I only know a few of them and some of them are pretty complicated. However, I've been checking out old movie clips on YouTube to get to know the songs and that's been fun. Here's one I particularly like called September Song. (Jimmy Durante is quite a character).
P.S. Concert season is coming and I've been spending a great deal of my time these past few weeks rehearsing and practicing. However, I haven't forgotten my compositions! Another guitar and flute duet is almost done (titled Tune My Heart) and another HiRISE piece is underway (Russell's Velvet Dunes). Anyway, I'm very interested in keeping up with those projects, so they'll be up as soon as they're done.