For Joan Glowinski, music is life.
"Singing, dancing and performing have always been a part of my life but always as an amateur; I never did anything professional she said. "I was in concerts when I was very young through church groups and then, when I was 14 years old, I joined junior choir. I have always loved music and I have always loved choral music."
The 84-year-old England native who now resides at The Willowbrook Senior Living Community in South Abington Twp. recently won not only the $1,000 grand prize but also the People's Choice Award in the "Seniors Have Talent" contest at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
The contest was open to all area seniors age 60 or older and was co-sponsored by Hospice Community Care, Celtic Healthcare and Mohegan Sun. The event raised money for PA Vent Camp for Kids, a summer camp for children who use ventilators. Glowinski captured the crowd's adulation by performing "To Keep My Love Alive," from "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court."
Glowinski explained how she decided to perform the song in which character Morgan Le Fay recalls the many husbands she killed so that she could keep her marriage vow of "til death do us part" and, consequently, avoid divorce.
"I didn't really know what to do," she admitted. "I wanted to sing something really spectacular but I knew my voice wasn't that good, plus, I didn't have an accompanist, so I had to do it a cappella. I enjoyed doing it; I could tell by the applause that people were happy but I never expected the first prize."
Glowinski will perform her prize-winning skit this Thursday, June 27, at 3 p.m. at The Willowbrook during a special party hosted in her honor. The star-themed party will give Glowinski's three daughters, Monica, Teresa and Sharon, who all live out-of-state, the chance to see their mother perform.
"Music, literature and history have always been a passion of mine.," she said. "I love to recite things. I was nine years in the Dunmore Cemetery Tour, I performed many different parts there. I did a little Shakespeare at the Century Club and the Lackawanna Historical Society. This was all in my later years."
"In my middle years, I was bringing up three children, so I had no time for anything like performing," she continued. "Music was always within me when my children were younger, but I couldn't do anything about it because my priority was to take care of them, so I would sing to them."
Glowinski explained that, although she did give up performing while raising her children, her passion never left her. She has advice for people who are faced with adversity in their lives and for people who might wish to rediscover a dormant passion.
"One of my mottoes is, 'never give up,'" she said. "Even though you are aching all over, you never give up. It is something that you have to learn, to overcome, when things or other people go against you."
"There is something within your own soul that makes you want to keep on going," she added. "It is not always fighting with anger. It is fighting by looking inside of yourself and finding your own strength."