in 2021 we are
#SVSMoreThanJustAShow
August 27, 2021
Celebrating Aging Through the Performing Arts
Greetings!

 "GO FOR THE GOLD WITH THE SENIOR VARIETY SHOW"

When you come to enjoy the annual Senior Variety Show you are delighted at the talent of folks sixty years or older. The performers dance, sing, recite, and so much more. One thing you might not think about is some of these performers have countless years of performing that have gone before they ever reached the age of sixty.

If we ask and take the time to listen there are so many stories to be heard and remembered. Some of our performers have been a part of entertaining most of their adult life, or some even starting as children perhaps in a school play, or singing that first solo “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.

Over the years I have had the privilege of meeting and knowing some of these folks. I was delighted to work with a gal who could make the piano almost rock when she played. In talking with her I found out she played and sang at USO clubs during World War II for our men and women helping to keep our country safe. After the war, she continued to play and although I met her in her later years, I’m know she never lost her love to perform.

As an Ames theater “newbie” back in the 90’s I met a petite, size five shoes little gal that has remained a friend all these years. She really did have some stories to tell about her childhood years performing with her sisters. I enjoyed listening to them all. She said it didn’t take long for the “theater bug” to bite! Not only is she a performer but we all looked forward to the costumes she created and the humorous scripts she wrote.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about another performer I was privileged to know. Her love of tap dance started when she was only six years old. She was self-taught teaching herself while listening to the radio. She tapped her way into the hearts of many over the years well into her 90’s. She was a joy to watch on stage. Her constant smile told you how much she loved performing.

The Senior Variety Show has showcased so many more like the gentlemen who sang and played his guitar for over 65 years, a gal who sang her entire life and in retirement sang for cruise ship talent shows. Finally, I want to include a man who dedicated his life to the performing arts and  delighted audiences for many years with memorized recitations, performing without prompting notes.

This article only touches on a few of the performers I have had to pleasure to know. There are many more stories to be told and written about. Perhaps you as readers have your own stories. We would enjoy hearing from you.

DO YOU KNOW WHO THE PERFORMERS ARE???
Hint for this week's featured Senior Showcase video performance:
What a “Merry Life” it is!! But what’s “funicular”?

Who are the featured singers and pianist and where and when was this taken?
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!!)
Answer: Alice Thompson and Leo Timms (singers); Carol Deppe (pianist) at Green Hills Community Room, August 2021 (getting ready for SVS 2022 show!)
 “Keeping Up With Folks”
Let’s read how some folks have been spending their time these past months 

Pat Meek: “I recently went on a trip to Branson, my first trip out of Ames for almost two years! It was great fun and the group I was with enjoyed it just as much. We ate good food, shopped and saw two shows. The weather was very cooperative. I am still singing with the praise group at church, through masks and BIG shields on our music stands. It’s a challenge but it works! Right this day, I am waiting for this heat to break. Who knows! I many take another trip!
Leo Timms: “Volunteering” is back in full swing! While the Boys and Girls Club, Meals from the Heartland, Ames Town and Country Kiwanis, and Gilbert Redeemables were in full swing during Covid, delivering food to homes for MICA and Salvation Army escalated. Recent changes have again allowed face to face hospice visits at homes and care centers. Got in an 11 day vacation back east (sister in PA, son in NJ, and 5 days of exceptional family time in the Berkshire Mountains of western Mass.). Back to singing in person with Heartland Songbirds and Golden K Singers. Also ramping up for the 2022 Senior Variety Show! Are you fired up!!

 “How many of you are “back singing and / or performing”?”
You can send your quarantine projects and ideas to us at storycountysvs@gmail.com and we will share. Building community one project at a time.
Spotlight article: “Phyllis Schrag" (interview by Pat Meek)

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Phyllis Schrag, one of the Senior Variety Show’s constant performers and a very talented lady. Here is the interview. Enjoy!

1.   DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU REALIZED YOU HAD A TRUE INTEREST IN THEATER?
When I was 6 years old, I remember seeing my dad’s Sunday hat, putting it on and acting silly. We had some company at the time, most likely grandparents, and they laughed and applauded. The joy of that experience has stayed with me to this day.
2. WAS THERE ANY ONE WHO MENTORED OR ENCOURAGED YOU?
I went to a very small high school. There were 13 in my class. Our band director who, was also our superintendent and history/government teacher, recognized my talent in the arts and gave me many opportunities to use those gifts and talents.
 
3. DID YOU START PERFORMING A LOT AS A YOUNG GIRL, OR WAS THAT SOMETHING THAT CAME IN LATER YEARS?
Like any small town, our church was small as well. From the age of 6, the Sunday School teachers had me singing solos for church services and for the Christmas Eve Program.
 
4. YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND LARRY MOVED TO AMES SOME YEARS AGO TO BE NEAR FAMILY. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO GET INVOLVED IN THEATER AGAIN?
For a “vintage” woman like me, there are so few really good roles, so when a suitable age-appropriate role came along, if my schedule allowed, I auditioned. I am currently playing Nana, in NANA’S NAUGHTY KNICKERS at ACTORS. That play runs September 16, 17, 18, 24, 25 at 7:30 and September 26th at 2:00 p.m.
 
5. DID YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN THEATER IN SOUTH DAKOTA INCLUDE A PROFESSIONAL ENDEAVER SUCH AS TEACHING OR MAKING COSTUMES?
Early on, I foolishly thought I could make a living as an actor in SD. Professionally, I toured several one-woman shows including THE BELLE OF AMHERST with the SD Arts Council. I was the SD actor for PLANTING IN THE DUST, a Land Stewardship play. I also toured an Easter musical play as MARY MAGDALENE for churches, and I had a musical comedy review entitled BROADWAY SHOWTIME which was popular at conventions and after-dinner events. I taught children’s theatre at Sioux Falls Lincoln High School and conducted many creative dramatics workshops for teachers and students.  Yes, I made costumes. The most memorable costume I made was a dolphin costume for a children’s show.

6. DO YOU PERFORM WITH OTHER THEATER GROUPS IN AMES?
Off and on, I have been involved in the Climate Change Theatre which is connected with the ISU Theatre Department and Actors Community Theater.
 
7. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT PERFORMING?
There is nothing quite like the exhilaration of taking on a character in a straight play or a musical. What I love most about performing is the unspoken energy contract that takes place between the performers and the audience. The more they respond to each other, the more satisfying the performance becomes for both the performer and the audience.
 
8. I KNOW YOU HAVE INTERESTS OTHER THAN PERFORMING. PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THOSE.
I am a quilt maker and I have a long-arm quilting business in my home. Before Covid, I sang in our church choir. I love story-telling and have written and performed several stories that are appropriate for children and adults.
 
9. I UNDERSTAND YOU TRAVEL AND GIVE PRESENTATIONS. TELL US ABOUT THAT PART OF YOUR LIFE.
As a SD Humanities Scholar, I research and present topics of interest to persons and groups in that state. In October, I am scheduled for a 10-day tour there during which I will present a first-person account of Frances Perkins, who was the first woman cabinet member in FDR’s administration. Other programs on that tour include the History of Women’s Underwear and “If you Have to Grow Up Anyway, It Might as well be in a Small Town”. Other programs I have researched include the History of Women’s and Men’s Hats, Letters from the Attic (letters sent to my great-grandfather who came to Dakota Territory at age 19), Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, I Am My Mother After All! Annie Oakley, and Midwestern painters -the big three are Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood.
 
Phyllis, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. It’s always a pleasure to read about fellow performers. All of us have a story to tell if we will ask and listen.

MUSICAL TELEGRAMS!!

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!
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Newsletter humor by Steve Bellin:

An astronaut graduated at the bottom of his class, and after 6 long years was both pleased and surprised to learn that he had finally been selected to go into space. The one caveat was that his "co-pilot" was to be an orangutan. Each was given an envelope to be opened once they were in space.
 
Moments after blastoff, the orangutan opened his envelope and apparently read his instructions for the better part of 5 minutes. He then began toggling toggles, switching switches and pushing buttons.
  
"How difficult can this be," wondered the astronaut. At this point, he opened his envelope and was surprised to discover 3 words of instruction. "Feed the monkey."
 
 *With all the recent space flights going on, are we a “Monkey’s Uncle?”*

    “CATCH THE SENIOR VARIETY SHOW TRAIN!! ENJOY!”  

  “ MUSICAL TELEGRAMS”!! Call and sign up!!