Not too old to take a risk!

Tracey Columns

When was the last time you did something that kind of knocked your socks off? I had that experience recently and not just once but twice. Lucky me, right? And it wasn’t even something I saw coming, which made me appreciate it even more.

Last week we held two audition sessions for Humboldt Light Opera Company’s new Boomer+ Troupe. I was a little overwhelmed and really happy by the number of people who showed up. It was such a positive response to HLOC’s newest program, an ensemble of singers and storytellers for people over fifty. Our first production is Those Fascinating Fifties, a show that will weave together music and stories to highlight the 1950s, a pivotal decade in our history.

The people who showed up to audition warmed my heart. As someone who has had her knees knock through a number of auditions, I could relate to what some of these brave folks were feeling. It can be tough to stand in front of two people you may or may not know and sing a song or tell a story, no matter how old or seasoned you may be.

Why? Because when you’re the one auditioning, it feels like the process is all about judgement. Will I be good enough? Will they like my song, my story, my piano playing? Am I too too quiet, too short … too old? Really now, who likes to go looking for that kind of experience?

I admired these people. They managed to quiet this self-defeating chatter and just go for it! How great is that? By simply showing up, I knew each and every person had something special, a willingness to step outside of their comfort zone. Their presence told me that they believed in our project – that older folks have something valuable to share with their community. It also said they were open to having some fun … and that’s worth a lot in my book.

We heard songs, listened to entertaining stories, and enjoyed some delightful piano playing. Afterwards, HLOC’s Artistic Director, Carol Ryder and I chatted with each person, curious about their memories of the fifties and how the decade had impacted their lives. These people came from all over the nation, from the countryside to inner city Chicago. Their life experiences were as varied as the people themselves and yet, there were so many shared experiences. It was wonderful to hear from with each and every one of them.

Regretfully, we only had room for about half of the people who auditioned. It was a very difficult decision making process. You see, when you are the one making the selections, there is a whole host of things to consider; how voices will blend, who can sing what part, can we pull together a quartet, a trio? Does this story work with that one? What rehearsal limitations are there? The list goes on and on.

My thanks to all of the people who auditioned.You were wonderful! And an invitation to everyone who lives in our area to join us for the premiere of the Boomer+ Troupe’s first production,Those Fascinating Fifties, the weekend of February 12,2016.I think you’ll enjoy yourself!

Image by Stuart Miles