They came together at random meetings wherever people meet, then someone sits down at a piano and fingers a tune; another person joins the piano player, and another strolls over, joins in and a musical group is born. Such a scene occurred at the Edmond Senior Citizen Center years ago. Then a similar organization took place at Edmond’s Touchmark Retirement Center about five blocks away. It was inevitable that these two talented groups should have mutual friends and acquaintances that eventually would make two successful singing groups into one fantastic organization. They practiced together and they chose beautiful gold satin vests as their uniforms, which says that together they are the “Golden Harmonizers.” The group is in popular demand to perform at various events such as schools, hospitals, churches, nursing homes, etc.
Recently, I invited myself to go along with the group to one of their engagements. I promised I would not sing with them! So soon we were at the Wellington Retirement Center where the large living room was attractively decorated for the Easter season. Following an opening prayer, the Harmonizers’ director Leslie Orvis started their musical program with a familiar “These Are My Favorite Things,” which was followed by a soft rendition of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” by John Gardner accompanied by pianist Fern Rowley.
The program included a roster of favorite songs a number of specialty musical acts enhanced with cheerful costumes that defined their characters. The “RagMop” ladies, Judy Harris and Charmaine Surprenant were short a member, Poppy Hawk, but as tradition dictates, the “show must go on.” Leaman Harris as Elvis Presley was his usual charming self.
Orvis introduced her 7-year-old granddaughter Macie who captivated the audience with her solo “Castle in the Clouds” and a piano performance.
The audience was also wowed (or perhaps I should say “bow wowed”) when Marilyn Waters introduced another guest who when asked to tell the nice people his name, he clearly announced “BINGO”! The audience was dismissed with a joint singing of a familiar tune and provided the opportunity to get a beautiful picture of Marilyn Waters and her guest Bingo as they hit the closing high notes of the song with “....when we all get together what a wonderful feeling that will be” with the two singing in unison! Bingo is a beautiful, shoebox size dog and the Waters’ family pet.
The photographer is Leslie Harrison, a Touchmark resident who is as generous and gifted with his photographic skills as the Harmonizers are with their musical talent. Additional members are Dorothy Boyce, Claire Beau, Don Caffee, Ann Fuller, Richard Goldner, Liz Kelly, Jeanie Klassen, Anita Sullivan, Karen Merrick, Norma Miller, S.L. Mullins, Billy Wilson, Jacque Wilson and Linda Wilson.
The time and the talent which is shared with untold numbers of individuals in hospitals and nursing homes, in addition to the programs that are presented for no other reason than to make a person’s day a better day is a priceless gift and those who participate are to be commended for their part in making the world a kinder place.
JIMMIE COOK is a resident of Touchmark Retirement Center in Edmond.