Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Remarkable Dreams at Age 80


My Dad turned 80 this past summer and of course we threw a big party to celebrate with him. It was a wonderful backyard BBQ with family and friends; just the kind of celebration he relishes. Simple, low key and all about the people. And the hamburgers, too, but mostly about the people.

Frank's been a gifted singer pretty much all of his life - an accountant by trade, a really good athlete for fun, but always a singer by choice. He passed his love of music on to all five of us kids; we've each performed in one way or another, professionally or casually, since we were little kids. He probably still has reel-to-reel tapes of us singing around the Christmas tree back in 1966. Dad, Mom and all of us sang in the church choir at varying times; you'll still find my Dad there on Saturdays and Sundays. He sings for funerals as well - people request him because they love his ever powerful, beautiful tenor voice.

You might think of an 80-year-old man as one who sits in a chair, watching TV and talking about his various ailments, but that's not my Dad. He recently purchased a bicycle and still plays a mean game of ping-pong. The only beings he loves more than family and friends would be horses, and he'll go riding whenever there is an opportunity. But music is really his passion.

The remarkable project Dad's completing now is an album of love songs (and others) -mostly music from the 1940s. It's remarkable because he still sounds great at age 80 and still wants so much to share his music. It's remarkable to see the tender loving care he's putting into this project and the great cooperation between him and my son, Greg, as the recording engineer.

Dad has also sent his vocal demo of the National Anthem to the Red Sox, hopeful that they'll choose him for the line up for next season. He's positive and passionate about music - in his quiet way he's the perfect role model. Here's why: it's a powerful lesson to realize that an 80-year-old person can still possess the talent, the will, and the passion to make his dreams reality.

20 comments:

Kathleen Hassan said...

Elaine - that was not only a beautiful and loving tribute to your dad, but an inspiration to everyone about never giving up and always living your dream - no matter what age you are. There are days that at age 53, I am still rushing to catch up to others who seem to have their careers all figured out. Your dad gives me hope and your article helps me to put it all into perspective... and suddenly I feel like "look out world... I'm just getting started!" I'll be saying a prayer that the Red Sox know a great thing when they hear it and will call Frank to sing the National Anthem!

Anonymous said...

Yup, your Dad is quite a guy. Now that he's 80, maybe I could beat him at ping-pong. We had quite a few good matches years ago.
Dana
PS: Your Mom is wonderful too.

Danielle said...

What's different about the Von Trapp's is that the captain didn't join in the singing. Frank has been the "Voice" we have all cherished for as long as I can remember. It is wonderful that he continues to pursue those activities that have meaning and quality in life, for hima nd his cherished family. As such I believe that 80 is only a number:)
Danielle Belliveau

Beverly said...

Frank is also ageless in his open hearted approach to life. No matter who you are or how young or old he is genuinely interested in what you have to say. I think music is the great generational connector and Frank epitomizes that truth.

A joint Harvard and Yale study found that members of the population of Newhaven, Connecticut, had increased their life expectancy through choral singing. The researchers concluded that this was because singing promoted a healthy heart and an improved mental state. Have they met Frank?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Michelle

Anonymous said...

Wow - that is amazing! Terri E St. Louis

Elaine Spitz said...

Thanks to Kathleen, Dana, Danielle, Beverly, Michelle and Terri for your kind words.
Your support, together and individually, is priceless.
Elaine

Elaine Spitz said...

Dad! I'm so glad you liked the article.
Love,
E

Anonymous said...

hi - what a wonderful inspiration your dad is! Your family is very lucky to have him, and I hope we all get a chance to hear him sing at a Fenway game next season!
Deb Desrosiers

Eric Langevin said...

Great article. I can see why little girls always love their Dads.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing, Frodo! I am always amazed with my "old" dad too!

Chad said...

Elaine,

Very nice article and tribute. I hope he gets a chance to sing at a Red Sox game.

A father is very important to the life of his kids. My father was definitely a big influence in my life and my best friend. I am now a father to a 5 year old son and cherish everyday and is the most important thing to me.

I wrote an article and did a speech about being a dad. You will have to check it out some time and give me your thoughts...

Steve Fiander said...

Hi E,
Awesome article about your dad. I've heard him sing many times, and in many venues, over the years - and he still sounds fabulous. I expect him to hit one out over the "Green Monstah" seats when he sings at Fenway. You'll have to let us all know the date.
Peace to all,
Steve

Anonymous said...

nicely written, may we all be so loved. Looking forward to Fenway Park.
Linda King

Elaine Spitz said...

Thanks for your appreciation, Eric, Steve, Linda, KMGS, Deb, Chad and everyone! Will let you know when the Sox call!

Chad, send me the link to the article you mentioned if you would - we're connected on LinkedIn, yes?

Elaine Spitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Way to go "Cowboy!"

Anonymous said...

Well done E! So true, so true! xoxoxox Jenn

CTK1 said...

Once you said it was about the hamburgers, I was sold. I fell in love with your papa, on the spot!

But when you mentioned it was more about the people... I wasn't sure what to think... *grin*

Your father sounds to be an amazingly
grounded, all around great man!

Bravo to his quest for sound and his undying love of music. Keep me posted on what he and Greg get up to!

And best of luck with the anthem. Fingers crossed that they choose his song!