BY ARLENE APPELROUTH / AJT //
“Don’t just count the years. Make the years count.”
I found these wise words attributed to Ernest Meyer when researching quotes about aging. I don’t know who Ernest Meyers is, but I do know someone who has lived by that credo – my husband Dan.
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Dan celebrates his 70th birthday this month. There’s nothing like a birthday ending in a zero to remind one of the passage of time.
Dan is celebrating his milestone birthday by inviting everyone to an all-Broadway voice recital he will be giving on Sun., Oct. 13th. There is room for 400 people in the social hall at Congregation Beth Jacob and you can RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 7th to join the celebration. The concert begins promptly at 3 p.m.
Dan has filled many auditoriums and synagogues with the sound of his beautiful baritone voice.
As a matter of fact, when I first met him, when he was a medical intern, his nickname was the singing doctor. He began taking private voice lessons when he began medical school, and has taken them ever since.
Although he has always given concerts during the 42 years I’ve known him, there have been significant changes in his performances over the years.
During his early recitals, he would be accompanied only by a piano soloist. The first recital I attended was in the small living room of his voice teacher’s apartment in Miami Beach and she played the piano.
When Dan was in the Navy, stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Training Base north of Chicago, he rented a hall and hired a pianist to accompany him. Friends gave Dan an elegant reception after his performance.
Dan has been renting space, hiring pianists and having receptions ever since. While on a cruise, Dan entered and won a talent show. The experience of performing, with a big band behind him, increased his enjoyment. He’s been hiring musicians to back him up ever since.
Although there isn’t a charge for tickets for the Oct. 13th show, Dan hopes some people will make a donation to the Atlanta Hunger Relief Fund, which he founded in 2005.
He is proud to have raised more than $113,000 so far, all of which has been distributed to help feed Atlanta’s hungry. The Atlanta Food Bank, Second helpings and Jewish Family Services are three charities which receive money from the fund which is managed by the Atlanta Jewish Federation.
Dan chaired Atlanta’s annual Hunger Walk, a Federation project, for many years. When he recorded his first CD, all proceeds from its sale went to feed Atlanta’s hungry.
In addition to donations, another source of money is the honorariums he gets when he sings in Atlanta’s retirement homes. Dan has always been a doer and a dreamer. When he has a dream, he doesn’t give up. He persists until he makes his dream a reality.
A perfect example of that has to do with his love of baseball.
An avid fan of the Atlanta Braves, Dan would sit in his seat, behind home plate, dreaming of singing the national anthem at the start of one of the games. He asked for the opportunity for many years.
I watched him ask, again and again, and was surprised that he never got discouraged when he was turned down year after year.
In 2006, the last year the Braves played at the old Fulton County stadium, the Braves finally said yes. He sang the National Anthem at the beginning of the last game that season.
I’m married to a man who is a doer, a dreamer and a giver. He has always filled his time with worthwhile activities.
During the 25 years he worked as a solo practitioner as a rheumatologist, he also kept busy as a volunteer. He has been on the Board of Directors of three synagogues, and volunteered as a lay Cantor at Temple Emanuel and Temple Beth Tikvah.
He volunteered for many summers as a doctor at Camp Barney Medintz. He coached athletic teams at Zaban and for Yeshiva High.
Since retiring from his medical practice, Dan has increased his volunteer activities. He visits Jewish patients at Emory Hospital, as a member of Bikur Cholim, a project of the Federation for many years.
Dan Appelrouth doesn’t just count his years. He continues to make his years count and continues to dream.
One of his dreams is to perform to a full house on October 13th. Won’t you help make this dream a reality?
About the writer
Arlene Appelrouth earned a degree in news-editorial journalism from the University of Florida and her career as a writer and journalist spans a 50-year period; she currently studies memoir writing while working on her first book.