Young@Heart Chorus Brings Light-Hearted Message to Lebanon

  • Soloist Byron Ricketts performs with the western Massachusetts-based Young@Heart Chorus, which will appear at Lebanon Opera House on Saturday night. (Paul Shoul photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/18/2017 10:00:14 PM
Modified: 10/18/2017 10:00:18 PM

After 35 years of directing the Young@Heart Chorus, Bob Cilman still isn’t eligible to sing his arrangements of rock music with his ensemble of septuagenarians, octogenarians and nonagenarians from western Massachusetts.

Not that he’s in a hurry, during the countdown to this Saturday afternoon’s concert at Lebanon Opera House.

“The minimum age is 73 now,” Cilman said during a telephone interview last week. “I’m getting too close. I’ve got nine years to go.

“Don’t push me.”

Cilman, and the chorus, pushed their way onto the radar screens of the wider world a decade ago, with the release of the documentary Young@Heart, which followed the 2006 cast through rehearsals for a major show. In the course of the movie, a couple of members died, prompting both soul-searching and determination.

By the time the film came out, the chorus already had made one visit to the Upper Valley, at Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center.

“Margaret Lawrence brought us before anybody in America really knew about us,” Cilman said of the Hop’s longtime director of programming. “We always enjoy going back up your way.”

The Young@Heart Chorus last visited the Hop in the fall of 2011, on its “Alive and Well” tour. Among the highlights was then-69-year-old Patricia Booth sounding more like Grace Slick than Grace Slick herself while belting out a version of Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit. Cilman said that Booth, now 75, returns this week.

“In our program, she does Don’t Dream It’s Over, by Crowded House,” Cilman said.

The Young@Heart Chorus performs at the Lebanon Opera House on Saturday afternoon at 4. For tickets ($39 to $79) and more information, visit lebanonoperahouse.org or 603-448-0400 or drop by the box office at City Hall during weekday business hours.




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