Since I have moved back to Florida I am becoming more familiar with the whole concept of older persons and luckily it seems there are plenty of older persons than myself. In celebration I have a story that relates to this international day.
Back in 1989 I was part of the team that opened the Philharmonic Center for the Arts (now Artis-Naples) in Naples, Florida [there will be more about that in a future post]. We became a favorite for crooner Mel Tormé who toured the state regularly. He especially liked performing in our hall because our stage managers went out of their way to make him feel welcome. His rider (the advance document listing specifications for behind the scene preparations for his show) required a pre-show dinner backstage before going on. The rider had only a few requirements for the meal but noted that too often it was rolled cold cuts and strongly recommended a creative approach.
Each time he performed at The Phil he and his band got something different. They especially appreciated a Mexican themed dinner served for them by our caterers and he always gave a great show, though he noted the audience was not as emotive as when he did his Vegas act. After a few years of sold out performances my boss, President and CEO Myra Janco Daniels, called me into her office to share an article she had been handed. In it, Mel commented that when he played Sarasota he discovered that the average age of his audience “was between 80 and death” and when he played Naples he “discovered where their parents lived.”
Now Mel was always a joker and a wit but you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. I secretly giggled at the comparison but never openly. Mel never graced the stage of the Phil again for the rest of his performing career. He should have know where his fan base was coming from. Just remember there is always someone older than you somewhere and enjoy your days and respect your elders. They may be paying your salary!
Happy International Day of Older Persons!