If you build it, they will come.
That was Gary Leavenworth’s mantra when he launched the first Singing for Seniors 13 years ago.
He was right.
Today, the free Naperville concert for those “age 55 and better” is a musical extravaganza that not only entertains, but pays tribute to area seniors.
“Singing for Seniors started as a personal dream and has blossomed into a premier event that Naperville seniors have locked and loaded into their fall calendars,” said the 57-year-old. “Music is truly in my soul, as is my love and respect for the elders of our society.”
Since October 2000, Singing for Seniors has provided residents an afternoon of entertainment that includes both local and national musical acts. Don’t have a ride? No problem. Leavenworth and his team of volunteers will make sure you have transportation to and from the show.
“It has become an event the seniors look forward to each year,” said Bev Patterson Frier, 83. “Seniors love to have an outing, and it is always a joyous and happy event. Gary has done a yeoman’s job of giving back to his community with this free program.”
For Leavenworth, it’s a labor of love.
“I cannot express the joy I find in producing Singing for Seniors each and every year,” Leavenworth said. “Serving is my passion, and in this case, music is the conduit.”
When he is not busy working on the next Singing for Seniors or performing in the Naperville Men’s Glee Club, Leavenworth and his wife, Pam, run Leavenworth Realty in Naperville. He is the father of two grown children, and a proud and doting grandfather of one.
1. What brought you to Naperville?
“I came to Naperville in 1978 to spend the summer with a long-time friend. To stay busy, I took a job in the liquor department at Alton’s Drugs and very unexpectedly fell in love. We were married less than a year later and moved back to my hometown (in) Plymouth, Mich. We returned to Naperville the fall of 1981 and have been here ever since.”
2. How did you get started in real estate?
“It all started when the vice president of Coldwell Banker came into the liquor store where I worked to buy supplies for a party. Two hours later, I sent him out the door with three carts of supplies. He returned the following day and offered me an opportunity that has led to a very rewarding career.”
3.What do you do in your spare time?
“Church and family are at the top; I have been saved through the grace of God first, but then blessed with a wonderful family. Another significant segment of my life is that of being a true food romantic. I love to shop for it, and both cook and bake, but most importantly, I love to share it.”
4.What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
“It would have to be contemporary Christian and American standards. I can also stand toe-to-toe and belt out a Broadway tune with the best of them.”
5.What would people be surprised to learn about you?
“I think most people would be surprised to learn that I am actually very insecure at times, especially when it comes to large groups of strangers, when I am expected to make small talk in conversations. As much as I love and need other people, there is nothing I would rather do than spend the day with my wife and children in my arms and a song in my heart.”