Young@Heart - a five-star movie and a five-star chorus
I just saw Young @ Heart on Netflix and it's the first movie I've given five stars since March of the Penguins. My friend and fellow musician David DiGiuseppe recommended it to me ages ago, but I was reluctant to see it: a movie about a geriatric choir doing songs by Sting and the Rolling Stones? He was right, though, the movie sucked me in and I watched it one and a half times.
This is Bob Cilman, who's directed the Young at Heart Chorus for a quarter century, almost half his life.
He writes: When the Young@ Heart began in 1982 the members all lived in an elderly housing project in Northampton, MA ... The first group included elders who lived through both World Wars. One of our members had fought in the Battle of the Somme as a 16 year old and another, Anna Main, lost her husband in the First World War.
He teaches them songs like "Schizophrenia" and "Yes We Can Can" and they work really hard - and do the whole show by heart, something I've never been able to get my chorus to do - and they have a fabulously good time, and they're accompanied by a fabulously good band, and the effect is mesmerizing.
The movie follows them as they learn new material for an upcoming concert tour and do a couple of performances, one of them at a local prison where the prisoners grin from ear to ear and cry and give them a standing ovation.
These last two screen shots are from one of their music videos. I forget the name of the song but I remember one of the lines: "We may be lost but we're making good time..."
Since I would like to be making music when I'm in my 80s, I was rooting for them every second. If it weren't so late, I'd watch this lovely, heartbreaking, inspiring, heart-fortifying movie again right now.