A group of senior singers that meet at the Jamaica Plain branch of the Boston Public Library. It is a singing class that also performs at local senior centers and homes.

Lessons, Classes, High Holidays, time to sing!

describes the class and its goals, when it meets (Friday mornings at Curtis Hall, JP)

2. United South End Settlements’

Platinum Singers

Wednesdays, 2-3:30pm                                                 September 16, 2015 thru December 16, 2015

Location:  Harriet Tubman House,                                       566 Columbus Ave (at Mass Ave.), Boston’s South End

Elizabeth Anker, instructor/conductor

 Come learn to sing and share music with others seniors

In this class, we learn to use our speaking and singing voices in a healthy way, boost our air power, volume and expressivity.

 We sing together and harmonize, and have FUN!

 Pre-registration is required. Contact Heidy Viarruel at (617) 375-8114 or write: hviarruel@uses.org
A $15 donation for the entire semester is requested, however, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

3. Private voice lessons in Jamaica Plain and Cambridge’s Central Square begin Sept 15.

4. I am cantorial soloist at a very welcoming Havurah on Cape Cod–no tickets required, no fees (kind of like my classes).  In Orleans:  Am HaYam Cape Cod Havurah

 

 

My student concerts are always free and always short. That’s how we keep the audiences coming. Oh, and audiences get to sing if they want, too.

The Platinum Singers are singing their OWN songs this week, plus our own parody of YMCA*, all in a 30 minute concert at 3:00 on Wednesday April 22 at the Harriet Tubman House, corner of Columbus and Mass Ave.  Upstairs in the Lincoln Room.
*the letters of U-S-E-S (United South End Settlements, our sponsor and host for the wonderful senior programs).

JP Jubilee does their end-of-semester concert on Saturday May 9 at 12:30pm at the Jamaica Plain branch Library.  Flyer below, by our members Lizi Brown and Estelle Disch:

A group of singers on stage, kicking their legs like Rockettes
Who says Seniors can’t kick …?

And on Wednesday, May 13 at 8:00pm, the Bach Arias Class at the New England Conservatory of Music is giving a class concert.  Just a few delicious morsels; 3 lovely singers, a violin, harpsichord and the teacher may even sing a bit with the group at the end…short, sweet and free.   Room 367 in the main building.

And, as always, I am accepting private students in Cambridge and Jamaica Plain, long or short-term…inquire within.

This is your chance! Daytime classes start Wednesday in the South End and Friday in Jamaica Plain. Both accessible by bus, parking is pretty darn good, and the teacher is really fun. Ostensibly for folks 55+, we do not card at the door.

The Platinum Singers meet Wednesdays 2-3:30 starting September 17 at the Harriet Tubman House, corner of Mass and Columbus Avenues in the South End. Nearly free: $15/12 classes, and no one is turned away for lack of funds.  Contact hviarruel@uses.org to register.  www.uses.org
note: no class Sept 24.

JP Jubilee begins Friday Sept 19 at 10:30 am. Flyer below

picture of singers being conducted on floral background with information about singing class

I was good in school, but bad at two things: penmanship and conduct. Got “Satisfactory” in both subjects–like a gentlewoman’s C.
I spent a lot of time in first grade in the hallway, mostly from talking. “Yes, I know the other children were talking, Liz, but we HEARD you.”

Well, I’m not sure I behave any better as an adult, but I am learning to conduct better. Conduct others, that is. Turns out, it’s a neat trick to be able to telegraph musical ideas in new ways. I’m used to singing, breathing, moving to give signals to colleagues when I’m performing. I’m accustomed to guiding the student(s) with my piano playing. Now, I am actually working with a pianist (a very good one–Megan Henderson is a singer, player and conductor herself) who will follow my gestures and take my tempi, all with a wave of a hand.

I had some great choral conductors in my life. Tom Fettke was my high school chorus teacher at Oakland High School. William F. Russell at Pomona College, Louis Magor in the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Roger Nelson in the Port Costa Players, and Craig Smith at Emmanuel Music in Boston. All these folks LET US SING, they let us BE MUSICAL. You have no idea how many conductors try to control a group of singers and get no music made at all. Others try but are ineffective at keeping a beat or showing what they want.

The leaders who inspire me clearly LOVE their players and the music. I once sat onstage to watch Bernard Haitink conduct the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Brahms 2nd Symphony (We called it the Tweedy symphony after that because of the Dutch spelling of 2nd: Tweede). He looked at his players with such warmth and respect, and wow, did he get a sound from them.

This past weekend I heard and saw Maria Schneider and her Orchestra perform in Boston. This woman attracts the very best jazz players, folks who ordinarily wouldn’t be playing with such a big group–they are all marvelous soloists on their own. And she not only writes such beautiful arrangements, but she clearly lets them do their musical thing. Not just on their solos,  but being musical partners to her tunes all through.

group of singers standing around a guitarist, having fun

So as I begin my new phase of conducting these voice classes of elder adults–away from the piano, just standing and waving and breathing–I am inspired by the marvelous models above. And others. So far, so good. We sang a dress rehearsal at a senior residence this morning, and I really enjoyed just being with the music and with my group. Listening, loving, not worrying about how I was doing, being in the moment.

What a gift.

JP Jubilee in concert tomorrow night, Jamaica Plain branch library, 7:00, free. Very short program.

Platinum singers begin their summer session May 7 at the Harriet Tubman House.

The chorus at the Simon Fireman Home in Randolph is making a couple of field trips in June (one to visit the Platinum Singers, their “cousins” through me, and the other to the “Mother Ship” of Hebrew Senior Life in Roslindale.)  We’re working on “Goin’ to Boston” and other tunes about Time and Place.

I hesitate to call my elder singers “cute.”  But that keeps coming to mind.  My mom used that word plenty and I’ve used it from everything to describe shoes, food, people and especially animals.   Can’t help it.  But what is NOT cute about:

  • folks who have already proven themselves as capable, competent,  distinguished and all the other adjectives that describe adult behavior AND
  • are willing to be silly and playful in order to find creative expression.

It’s not that we try to act silly in class or onstage.  It’s just that we are willing to let go of those carefully crafted personas we developed as we grew into adulthood.  We let go of having to be in charge and set an example to the kids, the bosses, the clients.

I teach all ages and learn from them all.  That’s the fun of teaching, continuing to learn.  What I notice is how LITTLE my older students complain about what they cannot do or what ails them.  They go on, move forward and keep growing.  It inspires me to be a better conductor and pianist.  So, come to one of the class concerts I’m conducting in the next few weeks.  JP Jubilee is the new name for Singing for Seniors at The Boston Public Library. Our concert will be short, free and full of fun.  Thursday December 5 at 7:30 pm in Jamaica Plain, see full info below.a group of energetic senior singers with their mouths open in song

…And The Platinum Singers are performing at the Harriet Tubman House on Wednesday, December 18 at 2:30 in the afternoon.  An in-house concert of an hour with these sweeties.  We just had a grand pre-Thanksgiving lunch with a terrific group called “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren”.  They sang along with us and told us their stories (if we asked).  Directions to the Tubman House:  www.uses.org  Flyer to follow shortly…

Liz standing in front of the small chorus, all wearing Platinum Singers/USES banners around their necks

So, is there a better word than cute?  Let me know and I’ll try to incorporate it…

Just yesterday the Platinum Singers performed a concert with the Boston City Singers at the Harriet Tubman House.  I hope to have pics and maybe a video later, but I can tell you, one of the “lunch ladies”, a senior who eats a hot lunch at the settlement house every weekday, announced, “This is exactly what we needed!” I got teary when Winnie Lowery read the first stanza of “Lifeline”, the Harriet Tubman song; others were touched by the Burt Bacharach/Hal David tune “What the world needs now is Love, sweet love”.  All I know is, we chose the program long ago, but it never is in bad taste to sing about love and courage.  Many of the Boston City Singers know the Richard family, as they are based in Dorchester, and Martin’s little sister sings in the youngest group of this chorus.  Great kids, great event.

Tuesday, April 30, something different:

April 30, 2013, 12:30 pm
Liberman-Miller Lecture Hall
Women’s Studies Research Center
Epstein Building, Brandeis University
public lecture
The Green House: A Conversation between Composer, Performer, and Poet
What happens when poetry becomes song? Composer and WSRC Visiting Scholar Dana Maiben invites Cambridge poet Martha Collins and singer Elizabeth Anker to compare notes and queries about Collins’s poems, “The Green House” and their musical settings by Maiben, slated for their world premiere at Brandeis February 3rd.
Image
And Thursday, May 2, my newest, shiniest singing group/class at the Boston Public Library’s Jamaica Plain branch, will debut in a (very) short program starting at 7:00pm.  What a delight to be able to work with terrific mature singers all around the Boston area and have so much fun doing it.  We will perform show tunes and invite the audience to share in some Everly Brothers harmony.  Free!
Singing for Seniors will also be at the Wake up the Earth parade on Saturday May 4, at 10:30am, singing/cheering on the folks from the JP Library’s entrance in our first outdoor appearance.