Penticton’s Tuneagers bid adieu to longtime director

Not only does A Song in our Heart celebrate the return of Spring, it will also be the last time music director Patti Craig will stand at the podium leading the Penticton Tuneagers in concert. Craig is retiring after 17 years with the seniors’ singing group, 11 of them as director.

A singular group of seniors is gathering for a special concert in Penticton’s United Church Sunday.

Not only does A Song in our Heart celebrate the return of Spring, it will also be the last time music director Patti Craig will stand at the podium leading the Tuneagers in concert. Craig is retiring after 17 years with the seniors’ singing group, 11 of them as director.

The Tuneagers, which was the brainchild of Helene Scott in 1970, started as a small support group for seniors who enjoyed singing. It has truly grown from those early days of a few singers and one or two instruments to a choir of 50 singers and orchestra of 12 musicians, all ranging in age from 55 to 90.

Choir members say Craig will be greatly missed, who brought not only her interest in music, but also the experience of singing and directing musical theatre to the Tuneagers.

Thanks to Craig, the group said, they have been able to tackle may different styles of music, which in some cases have been a challenge for the group of amateur singers, but that Craig was sure they could handle.

There are several small groups in the Tuneagers such as the Classy Combo, the Altones and the Melody Makers. These groups entertain at care homes and other functions where it would not be possible for the whole group to attend.

The Tuneagers perform in several concerts in the Penticton area over the course of the year as well as touring. Over their 40 years of existence, the have performed in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario as well as Hawaii and England. They have also performed on two cruises, one heading to the Caribbean and the other to Alaska. In fact, to celebrate the group’s 40th anniversary in 2010, several members chose to celebrate by taking another Alaskan Cruise.

Song In Our Heart gets underway at 2 p.m. in the Penticton United Church at 656 Main St.