Within the span of about 2 weeks, I became familiar with a punk rock song from the English rock band “The Clash” titled “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” My second exposure to the song was at the Youth Open Mic at the Starry Plough in Berkeley, where one might expect to hear a rock music! Indeed this song was performed (and very well indeed) by a boys band, all about 10 to 14 years old, aspiring to become rock musicians someday.
I was delighted to hear the boys perform this song that had been new to me only a couple of weeks earlier. Admittedly, even though my son, host of the Youth Open Mic, is a very accomplished rock musician and I am terribly proud of his accomplishments, this is not a genre with which I am terribly familiar! So even though the song has been ranked on lists of “greatest rock songs ever” and it was written in 1981, it was new to me. I became a great fan of the song when I watched the splendid documentary about the Northampton, Massachusetts chorus “Young at Heart.” This is a chorus of folks 70 and over who, led by director Bob Cilman, who sing a variety of rock and pop tunes and perform worldwide. Their version of the song is fabulous and endeared me to the song, as well as to the chorus.
The documentary caught my attention one evening when I was looking for diversion from the intense, albeit sadly comical, U.S. political drama that dominates the news. This could not have been a better antidote! The story of the chorus is amazing and I was stunned that for several years I had lived within an hour’s drive of Northamption and visited the town frequently, yet never learned of the existence of this terrific group. This group represents so much of what goes on in the world around us that is good and worthwhile, even though sadly all-too-hidden.
But here’s the thing: Bob Cilman has established something that has meaning far beyond the benefits of creating something unique and bringing great entertainment to all ages. The existence of this group is a symbol of what it takes to make the world a better place, to bring generations together, to find common bonds that are required for honest commitment. I urge you to watch the documentary. The 2012 calendar of shows will be on the web site soon, so watch for a show near you! I am determined to get to one sooner rather than later!