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Sunday, January 4, 2009

In Memory of Fred Knittle

I'm re-posting the following from October 15th in memory of The Young@Heart chorus' Fred Knittle, who passed away on January 1, 2009. There's a lovely article written about Fred's life HERE.

His performance of Coldplay's Fix You in the Young@Heart documentary has brought me to tears numerous times. See it for yourself at the end of the post, but be sure to read the background story above the video.

If you haven't seen this documentary yet, what are you waiting for?


I put in my latest Netflix pick, a documentary called YOUNG@HEART. I've had quite the streak of excellent choices over the past couple of months (see my "I Just Watched" section in the right sidebar), and this one fell right in line with some of the best documentaries I've ever seen:

Double-click on either 'play' arrow if you have trouble with the video

Prepare to be entertained by the uplifting individuals of YOUNG@HEART, a New England senior citizens chorus that has delighted audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Clash to Coldplay. As Stephen Walker’s documentary begins, the retirees, led by their strict musical director, are rehearsing their new show, struggling with a discordant Sonic Youth number and giving new meaning to James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” What ultimately emerges is a funny and unexpectedly moving testament to friendship, creative inspiration, and reaching beyond expectations.

Lately, my mind has been more than a little preoccupied with loved ones I've lost and people in my life who are currently having health issues, so I found myself crying more than once during this moving doc. Every once in a awhile, a good cry is exactly what I need to keep moving forward. Especially when the tears are brought on not only because of a little sadness, but also from profound moments of inspiration, and there are plenty of those in YOUNG@HEART.

One of my favorite songs, Fix You by Coldplay, is featured in YOUNG@HEART. Do you know the story of that song? Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay, wrote it for Gwyneth Paltrow (his girlfriend at the time/now his wife), shortly after her father tragically died when he & Gwyneth were in Rome on her 30th birthday. It's a heart-wrenching story all-around. Now try listening to the song Chris wrote for the woman he loves while she was grieving and see how little time it takes you to get misty-eyed. It's a stunningly beautiful song and I always get chills when I hear it.

When you try your best, but you don't succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones,
And I will try to fix you.

High up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth

Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones,
And I will try to fix you.

Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face, and I

Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones,
And I will try to fix you

The scene in the documentary as described on the song's Wikipedia page:
Fix You was performed in 2006 by the New England octogenarian chorus group Young@Heart. The group's performance was led by former chorus member Fred Knittle, who suffers from congestive heart failure and breathes with assistance from an oxygen tank.

The performance was originally planned to be a duet between Knittle and Bob Salvini, another former chorus member, but Salvini died shortly before the show. Knittle performed it as a solo, as a tribute to his friend.

OHMYGAH, PASS ME THE KLEENEX. Then, go rent this documentary!

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Hmm, I have this one sitting on my counter...looks like I'll have to pop it in the DVD tonight.