AIC Welcomes Young@Heart Chorus as Artist-in-Residence

Members of the Young@Heart Chorus rehearse in AIC’s Griswold Theatre
Members of the Young@Heart Chorus rehearse in AIC’s Griswold Theatre on January 18, 2024.


SPRINGFIELD, MA – American International College (AIC) is delighted to announce a new partnership with the globally acclaimed Young@Heart Chorus, based in Northampton, MA, to serve as the College’s new artist-in-residence. The chorus, with an average age of eighty-six, performs contemporary music with its own band. The group will have a permanent presence on campus throughout 2024, rehearsing weekly in AIC’s Esther B. Griswold Theatre for the Performing Arts, and presenting three on-campus performances this year. AIC students will also have the unique opportunity to collaborate with the chorus as interns.

Young@Heart Director Bob Cilman expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, saying, “Young@Heart is thrilled to be in residence at AIC. The theater is lovely, and it allows us to rehearse in a space that’s similar to the stages where we will eventually perform. Being at AIC also provides us with the opportunity to be seen and heard by a diverse community of college students as well as recruit elder members from the surrounding community where a couple of our current members live.”

The Griswold Theatre, which opened on the AIC campus in 1984, is a state-of-the-art performance and rehearsal space that is at once both expansive and intimate. The 500-seat theater area is fully wheelchair accessible and air-conditioned and is equipped with a proscenium stage, computerized lighting and sound equipment, and quality acoustics.

AIC Assistant Dean of Student Support and Experiential Learning Frank Borrelli is enthusiastic about having an artist-in-residence rehearsing and performing in what is a cherished space on campus. “Young@Heart is an inspiring chorus of individuals with considerable experience and wisdom. Their performances are inspiring and thoroughly entertaining. The chorus has performed all over the world including for the King and Queen of Norway.”

Borrelli adds that the partnership will have a positive impact on the College, providing the campus community with access to rehearsals and opportunities for student engagement. “This partnership is a direct reflection of the College’s dedication to the arts and community engagement. The chorus will welcome an AIC student intern each semester. In addition to weekly rehearsals on campus, there are plans for future public, ticketed performances.”

While Young@Heart has made its home in Northampton since its inception in 1982, its members live throughout the Pioneer Valley. Eighty-eight-year-old John Rinehart of Springfield remarked that he lives so close to AIC that he can now walk from his home to rehearsals. He’s also well acquainted with the campus, as his niece attended and graduated from the College.

Rinehart shared that being a member of the chorus has allowed him to travel extensively since he joined thirteen years ago. “I’ve been to Belgium, Holland, Norway, Singapore, New Zealand, and Japan twice,” Rinehart said. “The chorus keeps me young. It keeps my mind active.”

The chorus transcends generations, with the recent inclusion of seventy-one-year-old Medford Rodney Boston of Northampton. He patiently awaited the opportunity to join until he reached the appropriate age, and now sings in the ensemble alongside his mother – ninety-four-year-old Helen Boston. “I love it, the camaraderie,” he expressed. “It’s either this or sitting at home watching reruns of Judge Judy.”

Medford Rodney Boston, who worked with children as a mental health aide before retirement, said he looks forward to contributing what he can to the campus community. “Being here at the College, being around young people, I like to do that. If I can help them in any way, I’m happy.”

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