Sometimes in life, everything just seems to “fall in place perfectly, you know that feeling when you look around and you know that you`re exactly where you should be…”
Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Dedham`s Council on Aging Outreach Coordinator, Tami Allen. The quotes, and that feeling, belong to the enthusiastic person seated behind the desk. Allen has been with the Council on Aging for almost nine years now (Jan 2005) and is gearing up for her busy season.
One thing we realized right away though, is that Tami Allen hates talking about herself. She does however, have no problem “singing the praise” of Council Director Laura Leventhal (July 2010) or Assistant Director Liz Hodgdon (Feb 2011). Ms. Allen speaks the world of Town Administrator Bill Keegan, State Representative Paul McMurtry, and really appreciates the hard work of our Selectmen. The one thing that “lights up” Tami Allen`s eyes however, is talking about “her seniors.”
The Dedham Council on Aging is a Department of our Town. The appointed Board`s “mission” is to help serve the citizens of Dedham who are over the age of 60. The Council on Aging helps implement programs for our seniors, so that they may live independently, safely, and in good health. Information on services and available assistance is provided to those in need. The Council on Aging shares a space with “Traditions” assisted living center here in Dedham.
About a month after Tami Allen began her career working with seniors, the folks around her noticed that she always had a song on her lips. That`s not surprising, considering she grew up around music and her Mom, Diane Fontez, is a “professional singer.”
Back in 2005, a group of eight seniors began a little “talent show” and sang together for fun. Overseen by Tami Allen, the “group” performed at the Police Patrolman`s Luncheon at the American Legion Post, and they “coaxed” Allen up to sing on stage. Joined by Jim Moses (whose wife Margaret now misses him each day), the pair`s singing inspired the other seniors to form a group – and so began the Dedham Troubadours!
With some borrowed/donated equipment, the direction and guidance of Tami`s mother Diane, and the will and enthusiasm to perform for others, these eight seniors worked on and fine-tuned a 45 minute show, practicing every Friday. Well the months have turned in to years, and the Dedham Troubadours have evolved in to something very special. Members have come and gone, and there is currently upwards of 20 performers, aged 60-91, whose goal is to “motivate and inspire other seniors.” Tami Allen explains that “each person is a special individual, and each one brings their own unique gift to the show.” Allen added that she just wished “that people would realize just how special they all are, it would make all the difference.”
The Dedham Troubadours, will be performing their Annual “Home for the Holidays” Variety Show – on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 1:30pm at the Endicott Estate on East St. here in Dedham. Admission is free, the show is open to the public and is expected to draw a good crowd. For more information on the Troubadours, their shows, or help with seniors, Please contact the Dedham Council on Aging – 735 Washington St. 781-461-5976.
We`ll “see you at the show!” Good Luck and Happy Holidays everyone.
Story by: Joe Kilroy
Photos contributed to article