The New Horizons Senior Glee Club, a Lower Merion based performing ensemble, has launched an inter generational/interactive music program to be presented in area schools entitled “Kids On Stage.”  Drawing upon the vibrancy of American musical theater and the so-called “golden age” of popular song, the Program aims to create opportunities for children to learn from and participate with an experienced ensemble of 35 senior singers and musicians.

The all-volunteer New Horizons Senior Glee Club has captured applause and approval for concert performances in community venues throughout the Delaware Valley.  Performing songs from the vast legacy of American music known as the Great American Songbook, the Glee Club delights its audiences with the music of composers such as George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and others. The music of this era is largely unknown by our young schoolchildren who often have a hard and fast allegiance to the current rock and hip-hop culture prevailing today.

“Kids On Stage” will present selections from an earlier Broadway era, especially from the shows where children played important roles; Sound of Music, Oliver, Bye Bye Birdie, and Annie Get Your Gun are some examples.

The men and women of the Glee Club hope to reach across the generations to touch young people through a shared musical experience that is meant to be fun, entertaining and engaging!

We believe that the Program will be enjoyed and received enthusiastically by children, educators and parents alike. For more information please contact Selma Savitz at 610-664-2458.

In May 2012, the New Horizons Senior Glee Club presented their Kids On Stage program for the students of Russell Byers Charter School.  Music teacher Sarah Pisano wrote our Selma a lovely thank you note and attached cards created by some of her first grade students:

Click on the link below to go to Merion Elementary School's website and view an article and video of our Kids On Stage performance there:

It's Elementary to Seniors Glee Club

Date: 3/12/2010

Merion Elementary School welcomed the singers from the New Horizons Glee Club with pianist/director Selma Savitz and mistress of ceremonies Anita Beckett.

Among the singers were alumni of Merion Elementary School Ron Scott and Shari Levine Steinberg.

The Glee Club has 35 members who range in age from 59 to 90, meet weekly for rehearsal and perform throughout the Delaware Valley.

Students joined the singing as the Glee Club performed film and Broadway selections, comedy songs and American standards.

Merion's vocal music teacher, Marita McCormick, directed the closing songs as Merion's choral groups joined the Glee Club.

Click here for an audio slide show.

James Otto and Maxine Brodo
Below is a letter from James Otto, Principal of Sheppard Elementary in Philadelphia, PA where the Glee Club presented a Kids on Stage show on March 22, 2010:

Subject: New Horizons Glee Club visit to Sheppard

Dear Selma,

I can't thank you enough for bringing your amazing group of friends to visit our little school in the middle of nowhere. Our kids (big and small) were absolutely enthralled with the group, the songs, and the music. The repertoire was a far cry from our usual daily dose of "music", but it treated some of us older kids to a taste of pleasant memories, and treated our younger kids to a taste of some of what the rest of their world is like. And the enthusiasm and the love of music and performing by the group came out clear, over and over. They were also fun to watch.

Our children don't get much exposure to groups of adults who look different than they do, nor do they get much exposure to classic American music and theater. It saddened me to be reminded that our children don't know Oliver Twist, the Von Trapp Family, Little Orphan Annie, or even Pinocchio, but you could clearly see that it wouldn't be hard to bring them along.

While some of our children were waiting for breakfast to start yesterday, three little girls asked me why "that lady" put on that big red wig ? I explained Little Orphan Annie, the comic strip that I read when I was a kid, the Broadway show (what's Broadway?), and the movie. Then they understood why "Annie" was hoping that "the sun'll come out tomorrow". They could relate.

And as for the music, our concept of music is either something blaring from passing cars, or made with bongos, maracas, and electric guitars. Who knows from pianos, trumpets, base fiddles, and whatever that other man was playing! And some of the staff members were singing show tunes on their way out the door.
Thanks again to you and to the members of the Glee Club for an unusual and beautiful afternoon. I got to see it twice!

Mr. Otto
Sheppard Elementary School
120 W. Cambria Street
Philadelphia, PA 19133

George Cocco (drums), Selma Savitz (piano), Emil Pilacik (trumpet), and Ed Rifkin (accordion)

Please watch this WHYY news story (click on link) about the Philadelphia School Board's planned shutdown of this gem of a public school located in one of the worst sections of Philly afflicted by rampant drug trade and low incomes.  The school has become, as one parent puts it, "the guard protecting our neighborhood."

New Horizons Glee Club performed there last year, and we fell in love with the children (80% Latino -25% ESL students), the principal, the teachers and the spirit of the place.  If you can think of any way to assist the parents in their efforts to keep the school open, please do so.  Below you can view some of the many Thank You cards created by the children that attended our "Kids On Stage" concert. It was truly a culture-sharing, eye-opening and heart-touching experience for all concerned.

First and Second Graders giving the Glee Club their rapt attention and a future trumpeter

All of the above thank you cards were written and created by students at the Sheppard School.