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California Seniors Share Talent, Enthusiasm

Senior citizens put their talents on display in Los Angeles recently in a talent show for people over age 55. Some contestants were much older.

Ching Fen Wang, 95, has waited months for this moment, her daughter explained, as they sat in the audience at a meeting room of a senior center, waiting for a talent show to start.

“She says that she is a little bit nervous, but hopes everything turns out; but in case something happens, just forgive me, she says. I will do the best I can,” the daughter explained, translating for her mother.

Ching played a love song on a traditional Chinese string instrument in the 13th Annual Senior Talent Show, something her family encourages.

The performance was just one of more than 30 acts this year. There are former professional singers, dancers, comedians, and musicians - including many who traveled the world in their younger years. Their repertoire spans American blues to opera and Broadway show tunes.

Accordionist Oscar Rospide, a native of Argentina, has been entertaining crowds for nearly 70 years with Latin and European compositions.

“I am very grateful for the competition, not for the reason that I am probably going to win money or something like that, but because it is a chance to share a little bit of music with the people. I think that is one of the best languages of the world,” he said.

The sharing of different cultures is what the show’s creators had in mind. Competition judge Dolores Petersen said, for many older people, the Senior Talent Show is an annual highlight.

“You can tell that they have been practicing, they love what they do, and they want to share,” she said.

Most senior performers say they do not care if they win or lose. They are just glad to share their talents and their cultural traditions, and have some fun.

VOA producer Deyane Moses contributed to this report.