As the Rolling Stones can attest, you’re never too old to rock and roll. A group of Australian seniors have taken that refrain to heart, creating an 85-strong rock choir called Forever Young and teaming up with high school students to put on an annual concert with celebrity musical guests.
Under the motto ‘Live Love Laugh Play Shine,” the choir has only one rule: you have to be 65 or older to join. The average age is 70 and several members are 90 plus. No pop genre is off limits. They’ve sung everything from Leonard Cohen and Elton John hits to the Sex Pistols and Ramones…but they always end each concert with Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.”
Music teacher Laura Dusseljee founded the choir in 2011. Her students at Girton Grammar School in Bendigo, Victoria, provide the music and the seniors meet there once a week for rehearsals.
Melbourne’s Kate Ceberano was the celebrity guest at their last concert, singing her big hit “Pash” with the choir. And as she pointed out, the seniors had lived through sex, drugs and rock and roll. “These are people who were in their 20s when AC/DC hit,” she told ABC Central Victoria.
Frank Roberts, 91, credits the choir with keeping him in good health and cheerful spirits. “In old age, you have to have something to do, you’ve got to remain as active as you can,” he told the news site.
When asked if the choir was excited to be singing alongside Ceberano, he went into rock diva mode, winked cheekily and asked: “Is Ceberano excited to be singing with us?”
Choir members often put their own spin on the classics, giving new meaning to Queen’s “Who Wants to Live Forever” or Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven.”
As to the benefits of young and old getting together to belt out the classics, the choir’s Facebook page (visit it here) sums it up perfectly: “The students become part of something bigger than themselves, the choir members make new friends, the community gets a sensational annual concert and everyone is happy.”
Want a listen? Check it out here.