in 2021 we are
June 4, 2021
Celebrating Aging Through the Performing Arts

 Well, it is June again….certainly a time when the flowers and gardens are really showing off. 
One “spring” act that I recall in 2004 was the premiere of one of our favorite performers--Kay Berger and her rendition of “Sweet Violets,” accompanied by Loren Muench … and with, of course, all her great props.. the barn, the church, the violets! Above is a photo of Loren and Kay from those early years.  Two unforgettable performers, for sure!

And speaking of flowers, we would like to put a plug in for the Altrusa International of Ames’ Garden Tour.  As most of you know, Altrusa has graciously been the hostess for the Senior Variety Show Afterglow parties since 2013; decorating, feeding, even tackling the clean-up detail for the exhausted but glowing performers.   Well, this Saturday, June 5, Altrusa of Ames is hosting a Spring Garden Tour from 10:00-5:00 pm.  Five Ames area homeowners are opening their beautiful gardens for this fundraiser; plus Reiman Gardens is also included in the tour!  All for $20.00.  Proceeds from ticket sales will go to support local non-profit organizations- Martha’s House of Hope, NAMI, Bridge House, and Good Neighbor Assistance. So hats off to Altrusa and to SVS’ Betty Boccella who wears both Altrusa and SVS hats for community fundraising! Altrusa, we appreciate your support of the community; we thank you for your touch of spring; and we can’t wait to party with you again at our next Afterglow…2022?

Hint for this week's featured Senior Showcase video performance:

    Who were the Master Gardeners of SVS?

Make your best guess and hit the hot linked SVS You Tube Channel below to see this week’s Senior Showcase Video and answer (it’s already posted!!)
AnswerKeith Wirtz and Chuck Jones
 “Keeping Up With Folks”
Let’s read how some folks have been spending their time these past months 

Tom Barton (ukulele player): “During the pandemic I read over a hundred books, started a 52-cacti roof garden in the Yucatan, was hospitalized with Covid19 and on oxygen for a month, crashed my motorcycle, survived several flight cancellations for departing our home in Mexico, responded to each of the two vaccinations as if I had again contracted full-blown Covid, alternated between adult beverages with tequila or rum, took up the slingshot as an iguana-control instrument, played a little ukulele, and just generally enjoyed retirement.” 

Tom Barton and his wife Betty enjoy sharing flowers from their garden in Ames. This garden apparently also grows ukuleles!
Skip Walter (comedian): “I’ve been spending more time on hobbies, specifically amateur radio (have you seen the 39-foot tower in my back yard?), and restoring 1950s-era Lionel electric trains. The trains were packed away for 60 years, first in Ohio, then in Ames. With the goal of downsizing at a price, I have been cleaning them, lubing gears, and oiling wheels (which had never been done for at least three decades), and replacing missing parts (still available on the internet). But nobody applauds…
You can send your quarantine projects and ideas to us at and we will share. Building community one project at a time.
Spotlight article: Jim Okey and Geri Derner

One amazing thing about our “senior” performers is that their ages cover at least two generations.  This spring brought the birthdays of the oldest performer in our ranks, Jim Okey (or is Alice Thompson wrestling you for that honor?) and the very youngest, 60-year-old Geri Derner. (Well, we haven’t actually heard Geri perform yet, but just imagine a Manilow song emitting from this photo on a Key West beach!)

Geri has been the SVS Auditorium Chair since 2013 and could hardly wait to climb on the SVS stage. And now that she is eligible, she is still waiting! 

Geri works at YSS where she has been the Integrated Health Services Program Coordinator for 7 1/2 years. Her department coordinates care to help families connect with services/supports for improved physical and mental health. She supervises a team of 6 staff working with over 200 children and their families.  Welcome to the ranks, Geri! We can’t wait to see what you chose for your stage debut next year.

 On the other end of the spectrum is our Jim Okey who needs little introduction.  He’s been a part of the show since Day One. That means he has approximately 25 SVS solos, as well as several duets and skits under his belt.  Jim was the 1st president of ACTORS in 1956 and has been delighting Ames audiences with his countless community roles ever since.

Jim recently blew out 96 candles on his cake and has moved to Independence Village in Ames, 1325 Coconino Rd., Ames.  (In fact, he may be is still accepting birthday cards…)

As we say at SVS, “Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold!” We are very glad to have you as our SVS bookends, Jim and Geri!

Also take a look at and embrace the information on the flyer below. Share it with many others and partake at your favorite event. Enjoy SVS “Musical Telegrams”!!! Give us a call soon!
Newsletter humor by Steve Bellin:

A stranger ran frantically up to a farmhouse door. He pounded his fist, and when the farmer came to the door, the man demanded , "Where's the nearest railroad station, and what time is the next train into the city?"

 The farmer thought for a moment. "Cut through my back hayfield, and you ought to reach the crossroads station in time for the 5:45. But if my bull spots you, I expect you'll make the 5:15."

***And that’s no bull so hurry up and catch the SVS train and Musical Telegrams!***

What’s better than singing in the rain?  
“ MUSICAL TELEGRAMS”!! Call and sign up!!