Move Over ‘American Idol,’ The Senior Talent Showcase Is Coming to Town

April 16, 2010
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Umbrella Dancers

Umbrella Dancers

Move over “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars,” La Verne and several other nearby cities also have talent.

On Wednesday, 35 different acts tried out to be part of the 9th Annual Senior Talent Showcase to be presented on April 24 at Hillcrest in La Verne. There were singers, dancers, and piano and harmonica players entertaining their peers and the all-important judges.

An audience favorite was the song and tap dance team of Frank and Helen Canzoneri, with Frank crooning, Sinatra-style, to “The Lady is a Tramp,” while Helen soft-shoed her way across the carpeted stage. Afterwards, Frank said he would bring his personal 4-foot-by-8-foot roll-away wood floor for the real show so that Helen’s tapping would be better heard.

Like much of the auditioning talent, Frank, 81, and Helen, 82, who have been married 59 years, are well acquainted with the show biz circuit, La Verne being just their latest stop.

Frank "Don't Call Me Sinatra Yet" and his tap-dancing wife Helen.

Frank "Don't Call Me Sinatra Yet" and his tap-dancing wife Helen.

“We’ve been on the Pat Boone show,” said Frank. “We are also Start Quest U.S.A Senior National Champions.” They also belong to the invitation-only Hollywood Troopers whose former members include Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. In fact, Frank said that Sinatra was a distant relative of his.

“The family lived in the same town in Sicily for hundreds of years,” Frank noted.

When Inter Valley Health Plan put the song and dance team on its magazine cover in 2003, “the phone really started ringing,” Frank said. “Ever since that time, we’ve been here, there and everywhere,” including La Verne. Frank said he has the weight to prove it, adding that he and Helen both weigh the same as they did in high school.

Off stage, Frank also offered a few secrets to his lasting marriage. “We’ve had a wonderful relationship all these years, but especially during the last 20 when we stopped talking to each other and started dancing,” Frank joked. “It’s what we’ve always wanted to do.”

Pat Hogan, 69 years young, took the stage not long after Frank and Helen, singing and playing his harmonica.

After retiring from General Dynamics, Hogan has been entertaining seniors with his talented harmonica playing. “That’s what I love doing,” he said.

Fan (tastic) Dancers

Fan (tastic) Dancers

For his audition, Pat belted out some chords from Michael Bluble’s “Feeling Good.” (If you’d like to listen to the Bluble version, go to REEL People on With every note, he sounded the polished performer.

“It does take a lot of practice,” Pat said. “It’s not uncommon for me to go in my bedroom and close the door so my wife can’t hear all the noise and practice two or three hours. I just love playing.”

Frank and Helen, Pat, and several other entertainers no doubt will pass the scrutiny of the judges and be ready to entertain La Verne on April 24. Tom Hatten, long time reporter and movie critic extraordinaire will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the special event.

For more information about purchasing tickets to the showcase, please call Hillcrest at (909) 593-4917 or 800.251.8191, ext. 626. Hillcrest is located at 2705 Mountain View Drive, La Verne.

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