Local choral groups to sing following film ‘Young@Heart’

Young@Heart, Stephen Walker’s critically acclaimed documentary about the choral group of the same name, has its Sheboygan premiere at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, as part of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s free Community Cinema series. The film will be shown again at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9.

A short choral presentation by Sheboygan’s Concordia Gesangverein (Singing Society) and a discussion with the group’s director, Don Guske, will follow the Tuesday showing. Wednesday, the Golden Chordaliers will sing following the film, and Guske will once again be available to discuss the film.

Young@Heart chronicles seven unforgettable weeks in the lives of the members of the Young@Heart Chorus as they prepare for a one-night-only concert in their hometown of Northampton, Mass. Guided by longtime director Bob Cilman, the group is made up of two dozen spirited seniors –formerly schoolteachers, executives, doctors and food service workers –who specialize in reinterpreting rock, punk and R&B classics from their unique perspective.

Starting out as a lighthearted look at a quirky musical group, the film gains unexpected gravity when two members of the chorus die within days of each other, and the lyrics of the group’s repertoire take on powerful new significance. From 92-year-old war bride Eileen Hall’s rousing rendition of The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” to Pat Linderme’s moving interpretation of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” each performance responds to the ravages of age with startling emotional depth. The end result is an inspirational journey with a singular group of people who may be old in body, but refuse to grow old in spirit.

Concordia Gesangverein was founded in 1860. Professor Theodore Winkler directed the chorus for 54 years. A Sheboygan Public Schools music teacher, Winkler was considered the father of music in Sheboygan. Guske directed the group for 23 years beginning in 1970. After retiring from business, Guske resumed the directorship in 2003. Today, the chorus has about 45 active members.

The Golden Chordaliers formed in 1974 under the direction of Dr. J. Arthur Koss. They perform for shut-ins, parties, church-related events and almost any occasion you can think of. The present director is Robert Herrmann. Always looking for new members, the group invites you to join them Monday mornings at 9 a.m. at the Senior Center, 428 Wisconsin Ave., Sheboygan, if you enjoy singing and like to have fun.

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is located at 608 New York Ave., Sheboygan. For more information, call (920) 458-6144. A complete lineup of the free ITVS Community Cinema series is available online at www.jmkac.org/Com munityCinema09/10.

Young@Heart was directed and is narrated by Stephen Walker and was produced by Sally George. Hannah Beckerman was executive producer. Eddie Marritz was director of photography, and Chris King was editor.

About the filmmaker: Walker has directed 23 films for the BBC and Channel Four, including Hiroshima – A Day That Shook the World, which was nominated for three Emmys, including Best Director and Best Cinematography, was winner of the Emmy for Best Music and Sound, and winner of the National Geographic Cine Golden Eagle Award.

He also directed the critically acclaimed Faking It: Punk to Conductor, winner of the 2003 Montreux Rose d’Or and International Press Prize awards and a BAFTA. Walker also directed Hardcore, a film about the Los Angeles porn industry, nominated for the Grierson Award for Best Documentary 2001, and Waiting for Harvey.

Walker has directed drama for BBC TV, including Prisoners in Time, starring John Hurt and winner of the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain Award for Best Television Drama.

Walker has also written two books, most recently “Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima” (Harper Collins 2005), which made The New York Times best-seller list, and “King of Cannes,” a riotous account of his two weeks at the famous film festival.

He lives in London, England, with his wife, Sally George, and their daughter, Kitty.

Independent Lens is an Emmy Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about unique individuals, communities and moments in history. Further information about the series is available at www.pbs.org/inde pendentlens.

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