American singer/songwriter Ferlin Husky sang, "Love is my reason for living. Love is my reason for giving," in his 1958 composition, and love was the reason that nearly 200 people showed up Thursday at the Fairfield Senior Center, many of them dressed in red and pink.
"Happy belated Valentine's Day," said Ruth Harcovitz, Ms. Senior Connecticut 2013, to open her performance, A Musical Valentine.
The center had planned to celebrate the annual romantic holiday the week before, but the party was postponed by yet another snow storm in this "never-ending winter," as one attendee put it. Just before the concert, seniors dined on lunch prepared by culinary arts students at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.
The classically trained opera singer Harcovitz, who is actually from Needham, Mass., but has family in Connecticut, entertained the audience with romantic songs from the past, among them, "Will Your Remember (Sweetheart)" from Sigmund Romberg's 1917 operetta Maytime, "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" and "Stranger in Paradise" from the 1953 Broadway musical Kismet, and "A Kiss in the Dark" from Victor Herbert's 1921 operetta Orange Blossoms.
Most of the seniors recognized the music and sometimes sang along, and for some of the selections were new.
"First time I'm hearing this kind of beautiful music, opera. The singer is a beautiful lady with a beautiful voice," said Marius Velicu of Fairfield.
"This is different. This is a special lunch. It's wonderful. Music is always something that lifts up your spirit. We need that with all this terrible cold weather," said Joan Murchie of Fairfield.
Although Harcovitz did not hear Murchie's comment from the stage she seemed to agree. "How better to stay warm than with love?," said Harcovitz, who was invited by Connecticut pageant organizers last April to represent the state as a candidate-at-large in the Ms. Senior America competition. In the talent presentation at the national competition in Atlantic City, Harcovitz sang "The Voices of Spring," a Johann Strauss Jr. waltz, earning a position among the top 10 finalists.
Harcovitz, who identified herself as a woman who has "reached the age of elegance," said she enjoys sharing the musical experience with her audiences. She also enjoys sharing the stage with them. Just before singing "Stout-Hearted Men" from Romberg's 1927 operetta The New Moon she selected two men from the audience to join her.
Tom Dubrosky, First Selectman Michael Tetreau's new chief of staff, took one arm and Anthony Mascia of Fairfield took the other as Harcovitz sang and swayed and walked back and forth.
"I didn't know I was going to have to dance," Dubrosky joked.