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June 5, 2009

Stuart's senior singers

Minneapolis Star Tribune (MN):

For all his life, he's carried a name famous in Minnesota music circles, but he's always considered himself more aficionado than performer. Now, at 91, Stuart MacPhail is helping create the state's newest singing group, all because of what he calls his "rusty pipes."

The ensemble, just getting started at the Friendship Village retirement community in Bloomington, might perform under his suggested name: Sing for Your Life!

MacPhail is the last surviving child of William S. MacPhail, who in 1907 opened a violin school in downtown Minneapolis. For more than a century, the school has taught thousands of students to play nearly every instrument and develop skills that range from singing, public speaking and piano tuning to dancing, baton twirling and music therapy.

Stuart MacPhail worked at his dad's school for about 15 years, mostly in administrative and bookkeeping jobs, before entering the steel business. He played clarinet in a jazz band in college and sang in the all-male Minneapolis Apollo Chorus, which his father led for 22 years. He remains a lifetime board member of the MacPhail Center for the Arts, which last year opened its new building near the Guthrie Theater.

Late last year, he "casually mentioned" to board colleague Patty Murphy that "I kind of think I would like to study voice again" because his speaking and singing had lost punch and resonance. But he didn't want to drive downtown for weekly lessons or pay a teacher to come to Bloomington for private instruction.

With help from MacPhail Center and Friendship Village, his notion crescendoed into a series of group lessons not only for him, but for friends and neighbors at the retirement complex, home to about 375 residents.

From young kids to our most senior citizens group harmony singing is embraced and enjoyed by all! Some of our local a cappella groups do charity performances in senior homes and find them to be most rewarding. Once again at this year's Harmony Sweeps the audiences included all ages and is one of the most age diverse audiences you will find anywhere.

Posted by acapnews at June 5, 2009 9:31 PM


Ooh! Very inspiring! This only goes to show that age doesn't really matter these days what is important is to follow your dreams and desires no matter what. As long as you can do it then go for it! Who cares if you're too old to do it just take for example Susan Boyle!

Posted by: Andy Rogers at June 8, 2009 7:11 AM

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