April 16, 2017 is World Voice Day. But it’s also another very special day to me: my parents’ 67th wedding anniversary! My parents, Abby and Stan Sussman, each turning 87 this summer, met at the age of 17, and married at 19. They have 3 children, 5 grandchildren, and their first great-grandchild on the way. They’ve weathered a lot of storms, and have shared many wonderful memories. My mom is a Juilliard-trained pianist (following in the footsteps of my concert pianist grandmother). My dad is an excellent “shower singer” who still plays competitive-level doubles tennis 3 times a week in Florida, despite open-heart surgery last August!
In this clip, from our original 2008 musical revue, Diva Duets: Songs of Love Lost, Sought, and Found, I dedicated a beautiful song to my parents entitled “I Would Still Choose You”, from a show called The Yearling. Before I sang it, I began by polling the audience, asking “Who has been married for at least 10 years?” Many couples raised their hands. I then asked, “Who’s been married at least 20 years?” A few hands went down. I kept up this line of questioning until, after asking about the 50-year mark, only 2 sets of hands remained up. I asked the first couple (ironically, the wife was one of my singing students!), “How many years for you two?” They replied, “52 years.” After some polite applause, I turned to the last couple (whom the audience did not yet know were my parents), and asked “How many years for you?” They called out “58 years!” I said, “You win!” My dad replied, “We ALWAYS win!” After a good laugh from everyone, I said, “Oh, hi, Mom and Dad! Ladies and gentlemen, these are my parents.” Then I sang the song for them. Because it’s true…they really are winners in my life ?.