Miss Christine Hamilton, at that time the Director of the seniors program at the YWCA in Hamilton, Ontario, formed a “fun choir and light comedy revue” as a project for the seniors, in May, 1972. This “project” was based on the premise that age has nothing to do with talent. If you feel old, sit around with nothing to do, then your are old; if you have a project, something that you must work at, be proud of, and enjoy, then you are young.
This project was an immediate success and slowly grew in both its size and its purpose. In 1976 THE GERITOL FOLLIES was born. Over the years several new acts have been added, including additional choir members (who must pass an audition and attend the rigorous rehearsal schedule), soloists, twenty very agile and graceful dancers, a band, and comedy skits, which was expanded our membership to the present day total of 105. Except for the band and office staff, these members are all sixty years of age or older, have retired, are free to travel, and all are volunteers. They receive no remuneration of any kind for their long hours of rehearsals and performances. After the shows expenses are paid, the proceeds from our ticket sales are: (1) invested in a scholarship fund, which now stands at $125 thousand dollars, that we use to assist needy students in their quest for higher education in the Arts, and (2) through the years over $200 thousand dollars has been donated to various charites and organizations in this community. We felt this is our small way of returning some of the blessings and benefits we were fortunate enough to receive in our younger days.
Over the years Chris Hamilton won many awards for her tireless dedication and service to seniors and her community. One of her prodest moment was receiving the Order of Canada.
Sadly we lost our beloved Chris on March 4th, 2002 – we miss her dearly.
It was Chris’s wish that the Geritol Follies continue to share their infectious brand o enthusiasm and love of life. We are proud to be the stewards of Chris Hamilton’s legacy.