The Penticton Tune-agers choir and orchestra make their home at the Shatford Centre in Penticton where they rehearse their music and hold annual concerts – one before Christmas, and two in the spring. They are singers and musicians who enjoy making music together and they have a new conductor going into the 2017-18 season; he is Nick Kelly, a local musician and composer. The choir can be heard rehearsing on Tuesday mornings, the orchestra on Thursday mornings, and anyone who has a chance to spend some time with this group will get caught up in the obvious enjoyment they share in what they are doing.
The Penticton Tune-Agers of today are a lively group of about 50 singers and musicians, aged 56 to nearly 90, who are keeping up a tradition of sharing their love of music with others. They offer concerts every year in the immediate area, and have often gone on tour with their music.
How did they start? During the winter of 1969-70 local musician Helene Scott founded this group, with interested members who were part of a newly-formed seniors’ drop-in centre in the St. Saviour’s Anglican Church hall in Penticton. By 1974, when the members of the drop-in centre moved into a new Retirement Complex a few blocks away, the Tune Agers had become a close-knit group who were already starting to travel together to perform in other communities near and far. Over time their travels took them as far away as Hawaii and England, sharing music and showing that seniors can keep learning and enjoying life. And in those early years they cut three records – ‘Happy Days’, ‘Autumn Days’, and ‘Sentimental Journey’ – copies of which were purchased by their audiences as they travelled and performed.
Helene continued to be their leader for 30 years. She was succeeded by Patti Craig, who was their conductor until the spring of 2011. Both Helene and Patti shared not only their considerable musical talents with the group, but also their deep love of music. This is what still shows today when the Tune Agers perform; they spread this enjoyment through the audience.
Since 2011, there have been a few different conductors. Gerald Nadeau who was also leading the Penticton Concert band at the time, was our conductor from September 2011 until the spring of 2013. Gordon Dawson took over in the fall of 2013 and conducted us until the end of 2016.
With no one immediately in sight to conduct the Tune-Agers at the beginning of 2017, Annabelle Redman stepped in to conduct the choir; she had been one of the Tune-Agers for over 20 years, and for many of those years she was director of the Ladies’ Chorus. Nick Kelly was brought in during the spring as conductor of the orchestra, and he and Annabelle worked together to lead the Tune-Agers to a very successful concert in April celebrating Canada 150.
As we start a new season, Nick has become conductor for choir and orchestra, and everyone is looking forward to another great year. Three years from now, the Tune-Agers of today will be celebrating 50 years of music-making, sharing what they love to do with the audiences that enjoy being part of it.
If you would like additional information, contact Peggy Whitley at email@example.com or call the Shatford Centre at 250-770-7668.