by John Stoehr
We just saw the Stephen Walker documentary, Young@Heart, about the Northhampton choir by the same name. The average age of choir members is the low 80s. They sing punk tunes, rock 'n' roll, and other genres you'd never expect from octogenarians. It's a charming, LOL hilarious, and touching film. The most striking aspect, I think, is how the meaning of the songs is altered so much simply by the age and experience of the singer. Case in point is this clip from the movie's climax in which Fred Knittle, who has heart trouble and requires oxygen to breath due to the fluid build-up in his lungs, manages to sing a beautiful version of Coldplay's "Fix You." His voice is sonorous despite everything. The context, too, is heartbreaking. His good friend, whom he was supposed to sing "Fix You" as a duet, died. I'm not really giving too much away, because suspense isn't what this story's about. You'll know what I mean when you see it.