How did they start?
During the winter of 1969-70 local musician Helene Scott met with a group of interested people who were part of the newly-formed seniors’ drop-in centre in the St. Saviour’s Anglican Church hall in Penticton. This group wanted to sing! The enthusiasm was there, their love of music was evident, hence Helene Scott created the Penticton Tune-Agers.
By 1974, when the members of the drop-in centre moved into a new Retirement Complex a few blocks away, the Tune-Agers had become a close-knit group who were already starting to travel together to perform in other communities near and far.
Over time their travels took them as far away as Hawaii and England, sharing music and showing that seniors can keep learning and enjoying life.
In those early years the Penticton Tune-Agers cut three records: ‘Happy Days’, ‘Autumn Days’, and ‘Sentimental Journey’ – copies of which were purchased by their audiences as they travelled and performed. Helene continued to be their leader for 30 years. The Penticton Tune-Agers were often referred to as Penticton’s Ambassadors.
Following Helene’s retirement, Patti Craig picked up the baton. Patti was a member of the Tune-Agers for 17 years, 11 of them as the Director.
In the Spring of 2011 Patti retired. Both Helene and Patti shared not only their considerable musical talents with the group, but also their deep love of music. This deep love of performing music is still evident today.
Since 2011, Tune-Agers has been under the direction of several Directors.
Gerald Nadeau: September 2011 until the spring of 2013. Gerald was also the Conductor of the Penticton Concert Band. For health reasons Gerald had to leave the Tune-Agers. He died on July 19, 2016. We were grateful for his dedication and enthusiasm while he was with us.
Gordon Dawson: September 2013 until the Spring of 2016. Director until he move to Alberta. Gordon has now returned to the Okanagan and acts our our MC at various concerts, and as a Director when Nick is unavailable. Thank you Gordon.
Annabelle Redman: January 2017 found the Tune-Agers without a conductor. With no one immediately in sight to conduct the Tune-Agers, Annabelle, a member of the Tune-Agers for over 20 years, and the Director of the Ladies Choir, stepped in to conduct the choir until a Director could be found. We appreciated her leadership through this transition period. During that same period, Judi Ritcey took over the direction of the Tenors and Basses.
Nick Kelly joined Tune-Agers as the Director of the Orchestra in January 2017 and he and Annabelle worked together to lead the Tune-Agers to a very successful concert in April celebrating Canada 150.
In September of 2017, Nick agreed to become the Director of both the choir and the Orchestra. Nick has brought the energy of his youth, his incredible talent as a composer and his gentle hand on the pulse of the music to the TuneAgers. He continues to raise the Tune-Agers to new levels of musical enjoyment while making it a fun time for the group as well. Nick is looking forward, to next year, 2020, when the Tune-Agers will be celebrating 50 years of music-making together.