By Lois Bell
Sheridan Senior Center
SHERIDAN — Voices swell and rise from behind closed doors as the Senior Center’s Sheridanaires singing group rehearses for the upcoming annual June Spring Follies performance.
This year’s theme “As Time Goes By” is the brainchild of Senior Center Activities director, Jane Perkins.
“It’s too quirky how I came up with the theme,” Perkins said. “I was actually inspired by a Life book that was a compilation of Life magazine covers and stories over 100 years.”
The book planted the seed of inspiration for Perkins who landed on the 2013 Spring Follies theme, “As Time Goes By”.
Many may recognize the song “As Time Goes By” from the movie, Casablanca, but may not know the history of the song. It was originally written for a Broadway show, “Everybody’s Welcome,” in 1931 and had been recorded by a variety of artists until it was revitalized in the 1942 movie.
But Perkins wasn’t inspired by the song before she selected the theme for the 2013 Spring Follies performance; it was happenstance that an appropriate and widely recognized song was available that suited her selected theme.
The Follies performance celebrates four decades of American music from the 1920’s through the 1950’s. Songs include such titles as “Fly Me to the Moon” by Bart Howard and “Don’t Be Cruel” popularized by 1950’s singer, Elvis Presley.
The 2013 Follies program features a dozen songs including jazz tunes, ballads and fun melodies.
“It’s all good singing,” Chuck Gazdik a member of the singing group for 21 years said.
A tap performance by the Happy Tappers and musical performances by emcee, Matt Davis, add to the 2013 program.
“My particular favorite song in this year’s performance is “Dream A Little Dream” by Gus Kahn,” Perkins said.
“Dream A Little Dream” is also the favorite of Gazdik. Perkins selected songs that represent the era in which they were popularized.
The Sheridanaires singing group was organized decades ago. When Perkins assumed the position of director of the group seven years ago, she inherited some longstanding Sheridanaires such as Gazdik and John Trohkimoinen.
Perkins defines the Sheridanaires as a group who comes together for the joy of the music.
“We have individuals who have sung in choirs for 60 years, some are former teachers of music theory and others have never sung before,” said Perkins. She says that some of the experienced Sheridanaires step into the roles of mentors for new members. “They jump into anything I hand them,” said Perkins, “and they often surprise themselves with what they can learn.”
Arlie Johnson joined the group, “During Lent (this year),” he said.
“I joined because they had good, lively songs,” he added.
Johnson is a self-proclaimed bass singer and was directed to the Sheridanaires by his church’s choir director. The 2013 Follies will be his debut singing with the group.
The Sheridanaires open their Spring Follies singing program at the Sheridan Senior Center to the public.
The 2013 program is offering one matinee performance this year June 6 at 1:30 p.m. in the Senior Center’s dining room. An evening performance is scheduled at 7:15 p.m. June 7 with an optional dinner preceding the evening performance. The dinner is at 6 p.m. for a suggested contribution of $6 per person; individuals are asked to stop by or call the Senior Center at 672-2240.
“Anyone is invited to join us to sing,” said Perkins.
The Sheridanaires is a fun singing group who offer two performances each year to the public. There is no charge to join and all levels of singing experience are welcome. Those who are interested may call Perkins at the Senior Center for more information.