Seniors singing songs of love, peace, hope

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Love, peace and hope. That will be the prevailing theme Tuesday, April 24th at the Senior Centre Singers' annual Spring Concert, 7:30 p.m. at the Tillsonburg Senior Centre, 45 Hardy Avenue.

But it's not the only theme, said director Janice Edmund.

"That sounds a little serious, and it's not all serious," she smiled.

Tickets to the Spring Concert were still available, said Edmund after one of their weekly practices earlier this month, noting they were 'halfway' sold out as of April 3 at $10 each.

"More than half," Edmund noted.

And nearly sold out with one week to go.

"We like pop music. Oldies, pop and the odd anthem. And we like songs about peace. Most of them they've sung over the last 25 years, but not recently. Mostly things they haven't sung in the last two or three years. Some are choir songs that some people may be very familiar with."

The singers are accompanied by Shelley Vermeersch.

"We couldn't do it without someone of her calibre," said Edmund, who moved to Tillsonburg from Mississauga in 2013, and took over as director of the Senior Centre Singers in September.

"It's been so much fun. I had no idea how much I would enjoy it, and I think they're enjoying it to, so that's good.

"We're working hard, and they're getting everything. I think they're a fabulous group, really well trained over the years and so eager to do things. They come here to have fun, that's what they say. So that's our goal - to have fun and sing together."

A retired music teacher, Edmund joined the group with extensive experience working with elementary schools - her own Mississauga school and school-board choirs.

"These guys listen way better," she laughed, noting she was also musical director of Keep the Home Fires Burning, Theatre Tillsonburg's spring show in 2016.

"When I was asked to do that, I said, 'I've never done anything but children.' She (director Sandra Andrews) said 'oh, you'll find adults so much easier.' And it was easier... it's really true.

"They are here to please. They want a show and if I'm an enabler, that's good."

Edmund recalls attending Senior Centre Singers concerts after moving to Tillsonburg, and enjoyed the show. When long-time director Rachel Parker and manager Jack Parker retired after 23 years, Edmund decided to apply for the position.

"I was impressed and said, 'some day I'm going to join,'" said Edmund.

Many of the singers are veteran performers, and some are new to the group. In total, they have about 30 singers (with more in the fall). They spent about 10 weeks working on their Christmas Concert and it will be nearly 12 weeks preparing for the Spring Concert.

"That's really just right, 10-12 weeks," said Edmund. "Any longer and you get sick of it, any shorter and you're not quite ready."

There was a big push, she said, selling the few remaining general admission tickets. They want another sellout.

"And then back next year," she nodded.



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