By Virginia Ross
Performances are this weekend.
Decades have passed since Carol Bovee originally made a name for herself, singing show tunes throughout the area and earning the title of “Talent Queen of Northeastern Ohio.”
That was in 1960. Although the Girard woman took a break from performing to get married and raise a family, deep in her heart she continued carrying a desire to sing.
“It’s always been part of me,” Bovee explained. “The desire never went away. It’s something I’ve always loved and wanted to do.”
About four years ago, two family friends asked Bovee to sing at a breakfast event. They then requested a copy of a CD she had recently recorded to pass it along to Jason Burgermyer, director of the Warren Senior Follies performance group. Shortly after that Bovee, 65, joined the Follies.
“This is my fourth year with them and it’s made a world of difference in my life,” she said. “I went many years without singing, and my confidence was low. But this experience has really helped build me back up and I am very thankful for that. I love it.”
Bovee will join at least 40 other members of the Warren Senior Follies when the group presents its 19th annual show “The Beat Goes On” this weekend at at Lakeview High School, 300 Hillman Drive in Cortland.
Proceeds go to covering the expenses of the performance, such the auditorium rental and costumes, and to benefit Senior Citizens Opportunity for Personal Endeavor.
SCOPE serves area senior citizens by providing information on housing, food and various needs and offers outreach opportunities including group trips and other events. SCOPE’s main office is in Warren, but the organization also has facilities in Lordstown, Howland, Niles, Champion and Cortland.
“Basically, years ago my parents were doing these little shows at the senior center to raise money for SCOPE,” Burgermyer explained. “They asked me to help them with some choreography, and that’s how I got involved. I’ve been involved ever since.”
Burgermyer, 47, of Cortland, said individuals ages 50 or older are invited to join the group.
“It takes dedication and commitment,” Burgermyer said. “I explain that to people before they join. We welcome everyone, though. Even if they don’t want to be in the show they can come to the rehearsals for exercise and friendship.
“We work to make this show as entertaining and professional as possible. It is definitely an enjoyable, worthwhile event. There’s tremendous talent and a lot of skill here. These performers put their whole hearts into this show.”
The shows easily draw in 1,500 to 1,600 people over the performance weekend. The variety-style program features about two hours of entertainment such as singing, dancing, comedy and skits.
Although group members range in age from 50 to 92, Burgermyer, who serves as writer, director, choreographer and producer, incorporates individuals of all ages into the program. For example, this year Bovee will sing a song with her 15-year-old granddaughter, Clarissa Whippo, a freshman at Girard High School.
“This gives many of us an opportunity to get involved in something we love and care about, to stay active, make friends,” Bovee said. “It’s especially rewarding because we’re able to get our families involved. No matter what your talent or skill or ability, Jason brings out the best in all of us, He works with us and encourages us. It keeps you coming back and wanting to get better and do better each time.”
Mary Hovance, 77, of Warren joined the Follies 12 years ago. A former dance teacher, Hovance helps Burgermyer prepare the performers for the show by giving them some extra assistance and filling in for Burgermyer when he can’t be at one of his dance classes at SCOPE.
“It’s keeps you involved, your mind, your body,” Hovance said. “It keeps you active and gets you out with other people who enjoy dancing and performing and doing what you like to do.”
IF YOU GO
Warren Senior Follies
What: 19th annual show “The Beat Goes On.”
When: 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Lakeview High School, 300 Hillman Drive, Cortland.
Tickets: $12 a person and will be available at the door. Or you may purchase tickets in advance by calling (330) 399-8846.