Giving meaning to retirement

Updated 2017-03-16 11:31:10 China Daily

Four members of the vocal group Suiyuan Old Boys wear masks while performing on stage in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Aged 80 to 93, performers from Hangzhou rise to fame covering hits

With their gray hair and dark suits, the grassroots vocal group Suiyuan Old Boys has risen to instant fame among residents in Hangzhou with their lively performances of hit songs.

Comprised of four people aged 80 to 93, the group has staged several performances in the Yuhang district in the provincial capital of East China's Zhejiang province. Their performances show how retirees can enjoy their lives after work. Their signature cover songs include You Raise Me Up, originally composed and performed by the Irish-Norwegian duo Secret Garden, and One Day When We Were Young by Austrian tenor Richard Tauber.

“We were simply trying to entertain ourselves. We did not expect any fame or spotlight,” said Wang Jing, an 80-year-old member of the group.

Wang, the dean of a hospital in Hangzhou before his retirement, said the group was initially awestruck by the media spotlight, as fame was the last thing they wanted.

The other three members of the group, also well-educated, are: Wang Dezhong, 93, the most senior member of the group and a graduate of the National Central University who is a former official with the Fujian provincial department of petroleum; Fu Weihua, 86, the former dean of the Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences; and Wang Zhecheng, 81, a Chinese language major with Peking University, who is the former editor-in-chief of a magazine in Hangzhou.

The four barely knew each other until they moved into the neighborhood about a year ago. “I held a party in my home and we did a chorus of the song You Raise Me Up, and then we had this idea of forming a vocal group,” Wang Dezhong said.

Lou Yilin, Wang Zhecheng's wife, has become the group's director. “We figured out that the four members are fluent in English. But none of them have received any professional training in singing,” she said.

Lou said the group has decided to work more on costumes and makeup to improve their impact on stage. They wear masks on stage, but remove them while giving their names after each performance. So far, they have staged six live performances.

Wang Zhecheng said the reason the group initially won so much attention is because of the country's aging problem, not necessarily the quality of their performances.

The rapidly aging population has posed a key challenge to China. More than 15.5 percent of the population, or 212 million people, were 60 or older by the end of 2014. The number could reach 300 million, or 18 percent, by 2025, according to estimates by China's National Working Commission on Aging.

“Many people still have 20 years of time after their retirement. People are concerned about how this group of people should spend their time,” Wang Zhecheng said.

What the vocal group wants to display to the society is a new way of living for seniors, he said. “We hope our way of living can provide a reference for other elderly people.”

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58January 23 2018 23:51:28

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16January 23 2018 23:51:28

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18January 23 2018 23:51:28

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

Most Watched

China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords