1 May – The Solera Singers – singing like fine wine

ImageThe team of Martha Rodríguez-Salazar and Jennifer Peringer are leading another senior singing group, this time entirely in Spanish, in a public performance. They are “The Solera Singers” and Martha describes”solera” as the process of warming grapes so that when wine is made it will be good. Aging the wine makes it particularly good.

They are in a beautiful church, St Francis Lutheran Church, at the top of the Castro, the gay district in San Francisco. There are 29 women and 1 man (!) who perform a set of 11 numbers, again arranged by Jennifer into two part harmony.

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Each song is introduced and explained by Martha to their enthusiastic audience of friends, families, and seniors from the church’s lunch club. There are slow, heartbreaking numbers and livelier, festival numbers. We are invited to dance in the aisle, but the church is a little overwhelming and no one is tempted.

Once again as with the 30th Street Chorus on Monday, there is a great joy here. These are seniors who are passionately in love with what they are doing. Although they hold their words most know them and sing with great verve and energy.

Later I eat downstairs with in the $2 Senior luncheon. There is an interesting mix of the Solera Singers, a few locals, and some older gay men. At my table, one of the Solera women is trying to persuade one of the gay men to join.

We had one man today!” she says indignantly. “We need more men!” “Not really my scene” he says “Now if you were doing some Judy and Liz numbers I might be tempted”.Image

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