Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A song in my heart

I love documentaries. And if you like documentaries, you should see Young at Heart, aka Young @ Heart

This critically acclaimed documentary tells the story of a senior citizen chorus in Northampton, Massachusetts. Their director chooses diverse song selections from Jimi Hendrix and James Brown to Coldplay and Sonic Youth. While their vocal ability might not rival Mariah Carey or Michael Crawford, their passion and delivery will floor you.

What is most incredible about this is that, on the surface, nothing that extraordinary is occurring. It's a group of 65-98 year old people singing songs. But what moves you is their dedication, and how much this organized activity enriches their lives. When it all comes together in the final performance,e you see why this group sells out shows around the world.

Society so often marginalizes the elderly. We push them to the side, resign them to a role of non-contribution, and very rarely give them a chance to express themselves. This is partly out of our obsession with youth and fear of old age, and death which immediately follows it. But these remarkable, ordinary, people show us that old age is nothing to be afraid of. You can still have fun, you still have something to contribute, and you're not done living until you die.

My favorite scene is when the chorus performs at a prison. The reaction of the inmates is palpable and amazing.

Their director, Bob Cilman, is a visionary. I don't know how or why he came up with the idea to organize this chorus or selects the songs they perform, but it's genius. It's ground-breaking. It makes you wonder why you haven't seen it before and don't see it more often.


1 comment:

Nena Nadine said...

"you're not done living until you die."