The “Dungaree Dolls” (Rachel Silva, Judy Jackson and Ann-Marie Pina) perform their original song in May 2012
I grew up with the Platinum Singers, as a conductor and a teacher of elders. We founded this group when Obama was inaugurated. It comes to a end this Wednesday, June 28, from 2:30-3:30 in the Lincoln Room of the Harriet Tubman House, 566 Columbus Ave at Mass Ave. Free admission, audience sing-alongs, but with more than a touch of sadness.
The Harriet Tubman House has been a place where seniors who still live on their own could get a hot lunch, take excellent exercise classes, learn to live with diabetes, and get help on their home repairs. And it was a place to sit and chat, on hot days or cool, with other folks.
Sadly, the United South End Settlements is discontinuing ALL senior programming in order to “save the institution”. And they will put all their efforts into “families”. So the elders who do not have grandchildren that fit into this category are left without their community center in the South End. Damn shame. As “45” slashes all sorts of programming and funding for elders (like Meals on Wheels), we are in need of more community organizations to take up the mantle of serving this population.
Silver lining: about half of the Platinums also sing in our Jamaica Plain group, JP Jubilee, where the program is also virtually free and taught by the same wacky woman. Most of the Platinums have accepted our enthusiastic invitation to come sing with us there.
On another note, my student John is moving to Maine to be nearer to one of his daughters. He sang “The Silver Swan” at the last student recital, and it was a fitting end to our years of lessons together. Even as he lost words, he still could sing the melodies and vocalize up to a high C. He was working as a journalist at the White House during the Nixon era when the Saturday Night Massacre occurred, so we shared a lot about the current political situation while reflecting back on his time as a member of the “enemies list”. Fare thee well, John!