Brock Lynch, M.D. ’47, had been singing and dancing with the Young@Heart Chorus for almost 10 years when it was written up in Timemagazine in June of 2005, and in Yale Medicine[See “Tap Dancing Through Medicine,” Autumn 2005]. Since the documentary Young@Heartwas released in April, Lynch and the other performers in the 27-member Massachusetts-based group of elderly rock singers continue to tour to even greater acclaim.
“Little by little, instead of drooping, it grew,” Lynch said of the film, which was released only gradually in the United States. Word of mouth and a free showing at the Sundance Film Festival soon accelerated the film’s popularity, and chorus members have subsequently traveled not only to perform but to promote the film. Just prior to its release, Lynch traveled to Washington, D.C., and Boston with two other chorus members to answer questions from an audience of critics.
Children, adolescents, and college-aged audiences, he has long noticed, enjoy the live shows the most, while the older demographic seems less appreciative. “They don’t go for that music—that was the music [about which] they told their children, ‘Turn it down!’ ” But now that many audience members have seen the film, Lynch said, the group has “rabid devotees.”
Lynch recently sang with Young@Heart in Manhattan at the historic Beacon Theater on Broadway, a mile from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he was a surgical teaching fellow in the mid-1950s. The “Alive and Well” concert tour also included stops in Boston and the group’s home base of Northampton, Mass. The set list included songs by the Rolling Stones, Nirvana and James Brown.
The group plans next to develop a cabaret act, heavy on the soloists. More tours are also in the works. How do they do it? “With grit, guts and good medication,” said Lynch.