in 2021 we are
April 9, 2021
Celebrating Aging Through the Performing Arts

When the calendar turns to April many of us enjoy pulling a ‘gotcha’ on April Fool’s Day. That got us thinking back about those moments in our show when we pulled a surprise on the audience. Some of my favorites were Chuck Jones and Dick Woods exchange of pants; when Eve (Pat Meek) tore the fig leaf off Adam’s (Skip Walter’s) outfit; the surprise entrance of Cy sliding onto the stage from the wings the year he turned 60; when Al Ravenscroft pulled out his jump rope in his Rocky routine; and, most recently, when Barbie popped out of the anniversary cake! I’m guessing you have your favorites too and hope you will share them with us. Today’s spotlight features one of those moments when we caught the audience off guard. Way to go, tai chi class...just when everyone was expecting a sedately, relaxing routine...

So a great SPRING to all from the Senior Variety Show and may it bring a “great new season to all!"
Hint for our this week's featured Senior Showcase performance: Slow and steady wins the race for our bodies and minds!
Make your best guess and hit the hot linked SVS You Tube channel below to see this week’s showcase (it’s already posted!!)
What are you doing during Covid and the holidays?
Let’s read how some folks have been spending their time these past months 

Rollie Link (retired Ames Police officer): When Covid hit and we started spending all of our time at home, I happened upon my wife's old guitar in the basement. I have played the ukulele for years and decided that I might learn to play the guitar as well. A little over a year and three guitars later, and months of guitar lessons on Skype, I think that I'm getting the hang of it. Skype, that is.

As well as learning to play guitar, I am the author of the G&B Detective Agency series. In 2020 I published the sixth novel in the series, Case of the Femme Fatale. It has been a busy year for me.

Leo Timms: Spring is here so GARDENS and GETTING OUTSIDE! Flower garden takes some work but looks beautiful. Vegetable garden fertilized with horse compost, tilled, and 25% planted. Now we need some rain!
You can send your quarantine projects and ideas to us at and we will share. Building community one project at a time.
Spotlight article: Tai chi

Tai chi is both excellent exercise and calm for body and mind. It is practiced worldwide by many and an integral part to programming at Heartland Senior Services as well as our annual Senior Variety Show. Hope you enjoyed the showcase video and the interview with Virginia Dowling, Tai chi instructor below (conducted by Marilyn Johnson).
Interview with Virginia Dowling, local Tai chi instructor

Q: What does tai chi mean?
A: Tai chi is what those of us in the US refer to it – it is really tai chi Chaung and means supreme ultimate fist.
Q: How long have you been doing tai chi and how did you get interested?
A. I heard about tai chi at some continuing education courses for Physical Therapy and signed up for a class at Parks and Rec in 2002.

Q: What are the benefits of tai chi?
A: Tai chi has many benefits but the biggest reasons people should try it is that improves mobility and balance and has been shown to relieve pain and stress.

Q: When did Tai Chi become part of the variety show?  How many shows have you participated in?
A: A tai chi group first participated in 2006 and has been a part of 12 senior shows.

Q: What was your favorite tai chi act in the senior show? And why?
A: The cane routine in 2014 because it showed the variety of tai chi.

Q: Where have you held tai chi classes?
A: I first started leading classes at Heartland Senior Services but also have taught at the Mary Greeley Medical Center, Parks and Rec, and my own classes held at my church. During the pandemic we have met at Brookside and then on Zoom through the winter.

Q: About how many tai chi students have you had over the years?
A: I have no idea but there are about half a dozen who have been part of the group for years. There have been 17 different tai chi performers in the senior show.

Q: Who was the oldest?
A: Nancy Bowen started when she as over 85 and continued until she was over 90.

Q: Besides tai chi, do you have other interests and hobbies?
A: Music – singing and handbells; and cross stitch, and of course spoiling my granddaughters.

Q Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: I have recently had a surgery and a medical problem and tai chi is really helping me cope and recover.

Thanks, Virginia, for all the health support and variety show participation through the years!

Newsletter humor by Steve Bellin:

A duck hunter was looking to purchase a new bird dog. When he found a dog that was able to walk on water to retrieve a duck, he knew he had to look no further. He was certain that none of his friends would ever believe in his new dog's abilities, so he decided to break the news to a cynical friend by taking the man hunting.
On the shore of the lake, a flock of ducks flew by. The dog's new owner fired, and one of the ducks fell. The dog responded by jumping into the water. He proudly trotted across the lake to retrieve the bird, getting only his paws wet.

The skeptical friend watched the demonstration, but said nary a word.
Later, as they were driving home, the hunter asked his friend, "Did you happen to notice anything unusual about my new dog?"
"Of course," said the friend. "He can't swim."

(WALKING ON WATER! Sounds like an Easter story to me!)

A HAPPY SPRING TO ALL!!  Enjoy the flowers, birds, sunshine, and LIFE!!