MATTHEWS – When Stan and Gerry Schmitt moved to Plantation Estates retirement community in 2006, the couple thought their days singing choral music were probably over.
Gerry, who twice gave performances at Carnegie Hall when she was younger, had donated her music to Central Piedmont Community College, figuring she had no use for it anymore.
But 13 years later, the Schmitts and roughly 35 other residents are still belting out the tunes at Plantation Estates as members of the Gold Tones. The choir started shortly after the Schmitts moved to Matthews.
The Gold Tones have three performances each year: a Christmas concert, a concert of patriotic tunes around July 4 and a Broadway show in May.
On May 10, the Gold Tones finished up their 13th and final practice for its upcoming Broadway and Pops Concert for Plantation Estates residents. Some of the songs are from such Broadway hits as “The King and I,” “State Fair,” “Porgy and Bess,” “Cats,” “Anything Goes,” “The Sound of Music,” “The Music Man” and “Girl Crazy.”
Gerry said members of the Gold Tones are like family. She admitted that tackling the songs in the upcoming concert can be taxing.
“We sing so damn good in our 80s,” Gerry said. “At 80, you only have so much energy, but it is all psychological. We love this music, and we love singing it. We don’t feel old when we are singing. We are flying high.”
The Broadway and Pops Concert will feature 15 Broadway hits. Paul Wyche and Lane Ware will sing the duet “Comedy Tonight,” while Stan, 89, will perform a solo of “The Music of the Night” from “The Phantom of The Opera.”
“Gold Tones have given us a chance to do some real good singing,” Stan said. “This has been a welcome addition, and we have done all kinds of music. It never loses its attraction. Rehearsals for the Broadway show can be tiring. I’m 89 and there is a 90-year-old right next to me, and this helps keep us young.”
Stan started singing when he joined the glee club in college but admitted that his wife, Gerry, is the real singer in the family.
“She has sung all over the place,” Stan said with a smile. “I sing with her because otherwise, I wouldn’t see her very often.’’
Anne Kimball is the music director for the Gold Tones. Her rehearsals are fast-paced and intensive.
“I’m worn out already,” Kimball joked about halfway through the final rehearsal. “Some of the stuff we do is not easy. I try to pick stuff that is challenging and some stuff that is a little easier.”
Kimball picks music the choir is familiar with and that will keep their interest during the long hours of preparation.
“Everybody in the group loves to sing, and they pretty much come to every rehearsal,” Kimball said, noting how she finds, orders and puts the program together for them. “We have 13 rehearsals, so it is like a semester class.”
And the Gold Tones pass with flying colors each time.