Local seniors ‘got talent’

June 18th, 2015 10:25 am

First Posted: 5/6/2015

CLARKS SUMMIT — Two Abington area residents will be among the older adults (age 55 and over) to showcase their talents in the United Neighborhood Centers’ (UNC) Third Annual Seniors Got Talent show at 6 p.m. May 21 at the Theater at Lackawanna College.

Joan Glowinski, a resident at The Willowbrook Senior Living Community, plans to give a performance that is a mix of comedy and singing, and Robert Hughes, Clarks Summit playwright and actor, will give a dramatic reading.

Both performers participated in the event previously, and West Side Active Adult Community Center Manager Laurie Fleming, also a Clarks Summit resident, said she looks forward to seeing their talents on stage again this year.

“He’s wonderful,” she said of Hughes, who performed each year since the inaugural event. “He’s got a great voice, he’s got the stage presence and people really like him.”

She added his readings bring a different aspect to the event from the other acts.

This year his performance is a narrative by an unknown author, titled “Immigrant Mother.” He described the piece as “a tribute to every nationality.”

“It puts tears in your eyes,” he said. “It’s about the commitment of the true pioneers who came from the other side, not knowing what they were getting into.”

Fleming said Glowinski participated for the first time last year.

“And what a hoot,” she said. “She had a great little skit that she did, comedy and singing, and she’s going to repeat that again this year. She was very good. It was relatable — the stuff she sang about and the things she’s going to do this year are very relatable to older adults.”

The event was strategically planned for May, which is Older Adult Month.

The month, according to a West Side Active Adult Community Center news release, was established in 1963, when 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthdays.

“About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs,” states the release. “Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing, however. In April of 1963, President John F. Kennedy’s meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens served as a prelude to designating May as ‘Senior Citizens Month.’”

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter’s designation changed the name to “Older Americans Month.”

The release states that historically, the month is a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to the country. Every president since JFK issued a formal proclamation during or before May, asking the entire nation to pay tribute in some way to older adults in their communities.

Seniors Got Talent is one of Fleming’s ways of doing this.

“I just knew that this would be a great event to showcase our older adults,” she said.

The event’s location the first year was at the senior center, which used to be a school and subsequently has a stage. When the line of people stretched out the door, however, organizers realized the next year’s event would have to be held elsewhere.

“It was just bare bones, grassroots type of event,” Fleming said. “And we realized when we had people out the door how popular it could be.”

She said about 350 people attended last year’s event.

Hughes gives Fleming much credit for the show’s success.

“Laurie does a tremendous job,” he said. “It’s made to order, $10, inexpensive, seniors entertaining seniors. Laurie has struck gold with this.”

The event is open to the public, and tickets are $15 for general admission prior to the event and $10 for senior citizens, or $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at uncnepa.org/events or by calling 570-346-0759. All proceeds benefit UNC’s older adult programs, which include four senior centers across the county: West Side, South Side, Carbondale and Mid Valley.

Amateur older adult acts, talented in everything from music, to dance to comedy, will compete against each other. John Cosgrove will emcee the event and guest judges will determine the winners. Father Jim Paisley and The Fab Three will perform at the event while the votes are tabulated.