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Seniors love to attend singalong performances

Nancy Beck, left and Pam Campbell show their playfulness in “Ping-Pong Sing-Song”.
Nancy Beck, left and Pam Campbell show their playfulness in “Ping-Pong Sing-Song”.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - When P.E.I. performing artists Nancy Beck and Pamela Campbell were looking for ideas for their next Young at Heart Musical Theatre For Seniors (YAH) project, they remembered how much audiences enjoyed singalongs in their previous show, “Blessed Assurance: The Story and Songs of Fanny J. Cosby”.

uring performances it was common for seniors to begin singing spontaneously, filling the room with beautiful harmony.

“Every performance was a unique experience. You never knew the reactions you were going to get. It could be moving. It could be joyful or funny. But there was always beautiful interaction between the performers and audience members,” says Campbell.

P.E.I. performing artists, Pam Campbell, left, and Nancy Beck battle it out for first place in “Ping-Pong Sing-Song”, the new Young at Heart Musical Theatre production currently touring seniors homes on the Island.

They also recalled a recording session they had done 10 years ago with a Charlottetown pianist who knew and played all the singalong songs of the 20th century.
So they thought, why not take these recorded songs that the seniors had grown up with and weave them into together into a comedy show? The result is “Sing-Song Ping-Pong”, a lively and fun-filled musical that is on its way to seniors’ homes, nursing homes, manors, long-term care facilities and community halls across Prince Edward Island this spring.
It
takes the shape of a sports competition between Campbell and Beck who battle for supremacy in ping-pong, arm wrestling, fencing and basketball.
Filled with physical comedy and laugh-out-loud moments, the old songs are used as segues, moving audience members from one scene to the next. Audience members are handed a song sheet when they arrive and can sing along with favourites like “Danny Boy”, “Side By Side”, “You Are My Sunshine”, “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag” and others.
“Sing-Song Ping Pong” is receiving positive reviews. The show was a “hit” with seniors last Thursday night when they performed it at Rosewood Residence in Hunter River.

“The residents loved the show. They thought it was extremely funny. They also found the (cast members) very social. When I came in the next day, the residents were still talking about it,” says Tina Wadden, supervisor.

The musical has also received the seal of approval from the YAH artistic director.

“The new show has everything you need to brighten your day: beautiful music; talented performers and enough comedy to keep a smile on your face even after the show is over,” says Laura K. Bird.

One reason for its appeal is residents are familiar with the talents of Beck and Campbell and know that “they are in for an entertaining performance,” she says.

If you ago:

What: “Sing-Song Ping-Pong”.

Public performances: Saturday, May 6, 7 p.m., North Rustico Lions Club;

Tea and Tunes fundraiser performance for Young at Heart, Saturday, May 13, 2 p.m., St. Paul’s Hall, Charlottetown. Enjoy the show with catered tea service. Tea is from Lady Baker and food from The Yellow House. Tickets are $25. (Please note: the April 1 show at the Seniors Active Living Centre has been cancelled).

Bookings: For more information and to book a show, contact Laura at [email protected]

Website: Go to http://yahtheatre.com/yaht/

“This is the third time that Nancy and Pam have toured with Young at Heart, and they are definitely audience favourites.”

Besides getting to perform for seniors, what makes the show special for the creative team is it’s a tribute to a late musical friend.

“Audrey Gillis was a wonderful jazz pianist. She could also play classical and singalong material. She used to play with the group, The Downtowners, at the ballroom of the Charlottetown Hotel. She was also my mother’s best friend,” says Beck.

Gillis was 80 when she did the recordings.

“Audrey thought we were rather silly to record her, but when we told her we wanted to hire you to do this, she accepted it,” says Beck.

Also well known as a pianist with the Rotary Club, Gillis was well respected for her work in the community.

“She had a delightful sense of humour. She was a sweetheart,” says Beck.

[email protected]

 

 

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