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News

A poem by Fred Knittle

March 14, 2007

Young @ Heart
A musical documentary

made for British TV about the Y@H Chorus
Directed by Stephen Walker
Produced by Walker George Films Ltd
Academy of Music Theatre
Northampton, Massachusetts
Saturday March 10, 2007  7PM
 
The chorus and special guests enjoyed dinner and a movie...and this fabulous poem written and delivered by Mr Fred Knittle

 

  THE YOUNG@ HEART DOCUMENTARY
 – A SONNET ON IT
OR
   IT COULD BE VERSE
 
They asked if I would say a few words tonight
But, a few words from me just doesn’t seem right.
To thank all those who played a role in this show  
I would need more than just a sentence or so.
 
So, as I thought about this, sitting at home,
And I decided do it in the form of a poem.
Expressing to the film makers, the donors and the Chorus,
How we all feel about what they’ve done for us.
 
I’ll start with the person who is our number one.
He’s forced new music on us until it was fun.
That’s Bob Cilman, our leader, our guiding light.
He’s most responsible for what’s happening tonight.
                           
He couldn’t do it alone, he needed an assistant,
So there’s Diane Porcella and she is persistent.
She keeps things moving and fills in for Bob.
Not too many people would want her job.
 
Then, there is the Chorus – each and every member.
They’ve played a key role as far back as I remember.
They try those new tunes from Klash and Sonic Youth,
Even singing some words that may be uncouth.
 
Pat Larese, a veteran member and an Easthampton resident,
Serves the Young@Heart as its current President.
She and Diane handle the myriad of details
That an ocean-hopping Chorus usually entails.
 
Next is our band, under the direction of Ed Wise.
Billy Arnold and Fred Johnson are the Three Wise Guys.
They are assisted by our violinist, Miriam Leader.
For most of our numbers they really need her.
 
Then comes our Sponsors, many of them new.
They provided funds, ‘cause they believe in what we do.
And what will they get for their hard earned dough?
A meal, our deep thanks, and a ticket to the show.
 
Who are the people who made these donations?
They’re the Davis and Beveridge Charitable Foundations.
Barbara and Vince Gugger, (they’re Brock Lynch’s kin),
And our dear Jean Sheehan has supported us again.    

                               
Packaging Corporation, through Mr. Ebeling, first name Dwight,
Gave a generous gift to help provide for tonight,
As did, Matt Pitoniak and his staff at Union Station.
They, too, deserve our sincere appreciation.

A couple other sponsors that every one knows
Is the Hotel Northampton and Charles and Leila DeRose.
Dave Murphy, the Realtor, and King and Cushman’s Scott King
Gave their contributions for this special undertaking.
 
Dave is always doing good things, so some people say –
Funded a half-way house for girls who wouldn’t go all the way.
Russ Christenson and the Mahar’s, both Eileen and Bob,
All made my “friend raising” a comparatively easy job.
 
Those names should satisfy any and all curiosity.
We’ll see the film tonight because of their generosity.
One more component that helped complete this event -
Stephen Walker and Sally George, they’re heaven sent.
 
They form Walker/George Films and, with their talented staff,
Enticed millions of people to cry and to laugh.
They received a commission from UK’s Channel Four
To do this documentary that we’ve been waiting for.
 
Tonight they brought with them just three of their crew
I consider it an honor to introduce them to you…
There’s Eva Johnsson, Tracy Garrett and, finally, Chris King.
Chris is the person who does the film editing.
 
I’m not sure if my complaint is with Stephen or with him,
But nowhere in this film did they make me look slim.
But the rest of the production is certainly well done –
It shows the Chorus when serious, and when we have fun.
 
It shows us in our homes and when we’re on the road.
Showed Steve Martin showering, but within the “code”.
Everywhere we went, they had their cameras on.
I know Barbara and I were afraid to go to the “john”.
 
We noticed that with Stephen and with the technical staff
The girls of the Chorus could get them to laugh.
In fact, Eileen Hall and Stephen, were getting real “pally wally”
For myself, I prefer Eva Johnsson or Sally.
 
My wife suggested that I date them, and then they’d see
Why she refers to our water bed as the “dead sea”.
From the original aim of the poem, I am starting to digress.
Let me get back and finish up this mess.
 
During the production, we lost two valuable members.
Joe Benoit and Bob Salvini, - this everyone remembers.
Dear Joe and dear Bob are now both gone,
But, just as they would want it, we’ll carry on.
                                    
We were told we’d lose everything that we hold dear                
If we referred to tonight as the “Northampton Premiere”.
But having the first showing in America here in western Mass
At the Academy of  Music gives it a whole lot of class.
 
And so, our thanks to each and every one of you
For making this wonderful dream come true.
Let’s finish our dinner and then off we will go
To the Academy of  Music and their great show…..
 
 
Written by Fred Knittle, Poetic License 16-5532
March 10, 2007
 
 
 
 
 

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