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Geritolooza? Young@Heart Raps

December 3, 2009 By:
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Shake it up ... seniors: Dora Morrow and Stan Goldman of Young@Heart

Music as medicine? Take two Axl Roses and call me in the morning.

That seems to be the prescription for Young@Heart, the ageless oldies but goodies who have taken punk rock over a rocking chair as their vehicle of choice.

This choice group of 73-years-old-plus players gets a chance to rock and roil the region this time out -- a year after finding Hollywood fame in the film named after them -- performing on Dec. 6, at 3 p.m., at Hatboro-Horsham High School, under the aegis of the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation (www.hhef.org).

"Ages" is the key word here; better a song in their hearts than a beta blocker?

Bob Cilman provides the child-proof ... proof. The group's choral director since its inception -- 27 years ago -- at the Northampton Arts Council in Massachusetts, he has gotten them to sing en masse all over the world, covering such classics as "Should I Stay or Should I Go."

And, yes, even those with the canes are ambulatory enough to wow 'em everywhere.

Geritolooza? Better Coldplay than contemplating being cold in the ground.

Yet has Hollywood glitter and glamour caused any to toss away their bifocals and buy shades? Has the film changed the group's dynamic?

"No, if anything it has been strengthened," says Cilman.

Gone Hollywood? Why not -- they've gone everywhere else.

"We are touring a lot now. We took a year off to collaborate on a theater project and toured that to Manchester, England, in July."

Manchester, England, England -- is this the "Hair"-weave generation?

Happy New Year -- and it is a happy and active one; certainly, they've found audiences internationally, with tours set next year for Holland and Belgium, with "two weeks in Japan in March and back to the theater work in April/May, where we have a two-week run in Brooklyn."

They are the world: "All egos are checked at the door," says the ensemble's doorkeeper. "They see this as a group effort."

Surely, there have to be gerontological groupies.

"If there was a break-out star, it was Fred Knittle, who hadn't been able to travel with us since 1999," claims Cilman.

If it ain't broke ... "His YouTube version of 'Fix You' attracted close to 2 million viewers. He died in January 2009, but had a wonderful final ride."

Bus rides and some bumps along the way over the years ... "Always changing membership; it's the nature of the group," concedes Cilman.

Nature does take its toll: Of the Jewish members, "Stan Goldman's physical condition doesn't allow him to tour with us anymore, and he's taken a leave of absence. He hopes to get back into it."

Other "Hava Negillah" fans have a grand time?

"We have three new Jewish members -- all transplants from the New York area," says Cilman.

With Chanukah chappening next week, any thoughts on a Dr. Dre-type "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel?" No, not even with a Four Tops spin: "We stay away from holiday music," says Cilman, Jewish himself.

After all, Nirvana knows no calendar.

"We're on a 365-day holiday," says the scheduler/leader of his timeless calendar "girls" and "boys."

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