Silvertones take seniors on ‘A Trip to the Zoo’

The Silvertone Singers presented their premiere show at the new Bella Vida Senior Center on Friday. Ryan Mancini/The Signal

Music bounced off the walls of the banquet hall at the Bella Vida Senior Center as the Silvertone Singers made their premiere performance at the new center with “A Trip to the Zoo” on Friday.

Led by music coordinator John Swinford, 54 vocalists sang 26 songs which each reference or are named after animals. A slideshow with each animal accompanied the performance.

“It’s always nerve-wracking before the performance and we had some really raggedy spots,” Swinford said. “What I really love is watching how much spunk these so-called seniors have. I mean, they can get up there and run rings around people in their 20s and 30s. Where else are you going to be able to get people to wear a blue wig and sing “(I’m in Love With a) Big Blue Frog” from Peter, Paul and Mary?”

While there might have been some trepidation with 60s-era songs like “I Am the Walrus,” Swinford notice those particular singers getting into the groove of things, singing with the rest of the Silvertones.

Swinford also noted the significance of “I’m in Love With a Big Blue Frog” within the context of the 1960s and now.

“That was a hot song in the 60s,” he said. “Some places refused to (play) that song because it was too much social protest. But times have changed. It’s nice for our seniors to walk down memory lane and see how far our lives have come.”

Other songs included “Muskrat Love,” “La Cucaracha,”  “Li’l Red Riding Hood” “Octopus’ Garden” and, sung by Silvertone member Christopher Robbin, “Winnie the Pooh.”

“It gets people going and remembering the old songs,” said Mary Kimball, a volunteer at the original Senior Center. “It’s just everybody having a good time and laughing. It doesn’t matter if they’re off key or whatever. It doesn’t matter because they enjoy themselves.”

Swinford said new members are always welcome to join the Silvertones, who rehearse every Monday at 2 p.m. at Bella Vida.

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