Tapping back in time Vaudeville-style troupe performs for southern NH seniors

Sunday News Correspondent |
December 07. 2013 11:59PM

Members of the Classics, from left, Ruth Coole of Windham, Wendy Dumont of Hudson and Barbara Danais of Windham, perform for residents of the Veterans Administration Medical Center on Nov. 22. DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER 

James Hilley, who served in the Army Air Forces during World War II, salutes as the Windham-based vaudeville troupe the Classics performs at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Manchester on Nov. 22. DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER 

WINDHAM - On Friday before Thanksgiving, a group of song-filled senior citizens wrapped up their schedule for the year at a fitting location: the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Manchester.

The Classics, a dozen-member troupe from Windham, entertain at facilities for seniors around southern New Hampshire, and their favorite audiences are the ones that include vets.

Barbara Danais, the reigning Ms. New Hampshire Senior America, serves as the group's show producer, selecting the songs and choreographing various dances and skits. The past season's show, performed at nursing homes, senior centers, assisted-living facilities and adult day care centers around the region, featured some familiar favorites that often resulted in impromptu audience participation. There are Roaring '20s standards such as "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?" and "Button Up Your Overcoat," as well as 1950s favorites such as "Witch Doctor" and "Diana," accompanied by live guitar, drums and harmonica.

Humorous skits accompany other songs, among them a vignette featuring a nervous bride and groom that incites laughter during "I'm Getting Married In The Morning."

As the seasons change, one part of the show remains constant.

"We always end with a tribute to America, where we really go to town with the drum rolls between songs for the various armed forces," Danais said.

A trained music therapist, Danais said that sharing her knack of song with appreciative audiences "is truly the love of my life."

After taking some time off to enjoy the holidays, the Classics will return to the stage in early January, with a performance scheduled at Warde Health Center in Windham on Jan. 10.

Nursing home directors interested in booking the performers can contact Danais at 540-7467 or via email at barbaradanais@yahoo.com.

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