This 92-year-old opera singer's motto is 'keep singing' and she has no plans to stop
'They say keep a song in your heart and that's just about the way it has been all my life'
Adriane Stewart has been singing all her life and she's not letting a little thing like age stop her.
The 92-year-old professional opera singer says her motto is to "keep singing" no matter what.
"Music is wonderful for you," the Oshawa, Ont. resident said. "I memorized everything when I was singing as a young person, always. It's still there ... All these songs that I sing they're there from when I learned them from when I was 20, 30.
"It becomes a part of you then you see and then you don't forget it."
Stewart figures she has been singing since day one.
"When I was born, when they spanked me, instead of crying I started to sing," she said.
"They say, 'Keep a song in your heart,' and that's just about the way it has been all my life."
Singing from New York to California
Stewart grew up in Farmington, Conn. but music has taken her all over the world — from New York to California, and from Argentina to Canada.
At age 10, Stewart says her voice was strong, singing in a senior choir at church.
When I was born, when they spanked me, instead of crying I started to sing.- Adriane Stewart
From there, she went on to study classical music in school at 14 before getting her degree in voice and choral directing at Smith College, a woman's liberal arts college in Northampton, Mass., in 1947.
"I think all my life I wanted to sing," the retired professional opera singer said.
After graduation, Stewart, who has been singing for more than nine decades now, went on to perform on a Hollywood variety show, The Horace Heidt Show, in Newport Beach, Calif., where she lived with her first husband.
"The expectations when you're at university are classical and you do a classical concert at the end of four years, that's Mozart and Debussy, and I feel I had to modify that in order to sing professionally," she said.
"I did all the musicals, I did the folk songs and the popular songs."
But she says her professional career didn't take off until she returned to the east coast having gotten a divorce.
I feel very fortunate because I can still do what I used to do.- Adriane Stewart
Familiar with New York City, having taken lessons at Juilliard while in university, Stewart settled there where she made a living performing at Radio City Music Hall and with the Merry Widow — a light opera ensemble that travelled throughout the eastern U.S.
That's how the soprano found her way to Canada, coming to this country in 1953 with the Merry Widow.
"I think the most important thing is I was in a concert group and I met my husband and I never went back to live in the States," she told CBC Toronto.
Her career took another turn when the pair got married and she was forced to scale back her performances with the Canadian Opera Company, with five children at home.
'I can still do what I used to do'
But she never lost her passion for music.
More than 60 years later, Stewart is the soprano singer in two choirs in Oshawa, Ont.
"I feel very fortunate because I can still do what I used to do," she said.
"I always say whatever your passion is then pursue it in your senior years because that's just as important as your youthful years."
Stewart plans to record an album next month for her children.
"I want them to have a record of my music," she said.