Hillcrest Hosts Greatest Show on Earth, or At Least in La Verne

April 25, 2010
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The Senior Talent Showcase cast joined to sing "Fame."

The Senior Talent Showcase cast joined to sing "Fame."

If, for just a moment, you closed your eyes, you were transported back to the heydays of the Coconut Grove or the Copacabana. With singers crooning such standards as, “My Man,” “Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” and “I left My Heart in San Francisco,” the years melted away and you were sliding across the dance floor, stopping only long enough for a sip of cold champagne.

That’s how the ninth annual Senior Talent Showcase sponsored by Inter Valley Health and Hillcrest, A Remarkable Retirement Community, made the audience feel on Saturday morning at the Hillcrest Meeting House.

Tom Hatten, 83-years young, a renowned television and radio star most known for hosting the popular “Popeye” television show, served as master of ceremonies, and he was indeed masterful introducing and saluting the talents of each performer.

John Greenwood as Dean Martin

John Greenwood as Dean Martin

It was a red carpet lineup of classy nonstop entertainment punctuated by only a 15-minute intermission. Every performer brought his or her “A” game.

Sandra Kerr, a sultry songstress, got things started with a rousing rendition of “My Man.” Next up was Sharon Taylor, who in addition to her master’s degree in education, held the audience in sway as she sashayed to Bob Marley’s “Live it Up.”

Maintaining the island theme, the Diamond Age Senior Citizen’s Association of Diamond Bar performed the “Hawaiian Rhythm Love Dance.” Pat Hogan then changed things up with his harmonica version of “It’s Impossible,” doing Perry Como proud. This reporter just wants to know how Mr. Hogan was able to so skillfully hold the microphone and harmonica in one hand and still belt out a tune.

Maria Ybarra attracted as much applause for her beautiful dress as her dancing, causing Hatten to remark, “How does her dressmaker know when to stop.”

Ray Rendon followed with the classic, “I Get a Kick Out of You,” and the crowd indeed got a kick out of Ray, who is part of a “Living Legends” group that performs on the cruise ship circuit.

“A Class Act” lived up to its name by dancing “A Beautiful Dance.” Dressed in white tops, black pants and red sashes, they were elegance personified.

Dorothy Wycoff singing "Neither One of Us"

Dorothy Wycoff singing "Neither One of Us"

Bob Selva performed the Sinatra classic “That’s Life” and the Happy Dance Group kept things rolling as they square-danced to “Confessions of a Soon-to-be Bride.”

Chuck Lewis, looking as cool and debonair as Billy Dee Williams, tackled the Tony Bennett standard, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

Taking the first act to intermission were Shrley LeGros, singing “With a Song in My Heart,” John Greenwood, performing a “tipsy” tribute to Dean Martin and Cathy Chao revealing her inner diva with her beautiful rendition of Puccini’s “Nessundorma.”

The intermission ran over because Hillcrest outdid itself with an amazing array of dazzling and delicious pastries, including lemon cookies, decadent brownies, delectable fruit bars and other treats piled high on dessert plates.

When the showcase resumed, a performer not appearing on the official program brought down the house. Her act bordered on the risqué, and the audience loved it. Instead of performing a pole dance, she performed a “cane” dance, borrowing the stick from Hatten, who has been using the third leg to help recover from an ankle injury.

Stephen and Lucille Mattson performing "Tiny Bubbles"

Stephen and Lucille Mattson performing "Tiny Bubbles"

When order was finally restored, Helen Canzoneri tapped to “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” Josie Arroyo tickled the ivories with an engaging piano medley and Frank Canzoneri (yes, he and Helen are married) sang “The Lady is a Tramp.”

After the Diamond Bar Evergreen Club performed the “Yuan Ji Fan Dance,” Hillcrest’s very own Miran Sivcovich sang “God Made the Earth and the Sky.” He also made Miran, who is 93-years old and going strong. When Stephen and Lucille Mattson concluded “Tiny Bubbles,” Hatten said he was going to call his travel agent and book a trip to Hawaii.

Closing out the talent showcase were Johnny Lui, singing “No More,” Dorothy Wycoff delivering a very bluesy “Neither One of Us,” and Al Eisenwinter performing the classic, “My Way.”

Then needing no urging all the performers returned to the stage to sing “Fame.”

Yes, for one glorious morning, their names lit “up the sky like a flame.”

The two hour showcase of talent was also made possible by Diamond Bar Senior Programs, Claremont Senior Program, San Dimas Senior Center and La Verne Community Center.

Mystery guest, Phyllis, with Master of Ceremonies Tom Hatten

Mystery guest, Phyllis, with Master of Ceremonies Tom Hatten

For more information about this event and how you might appear in next year’s showcase, call Hillcrest at (909) 909-392-4375 or visit your local senior center.

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