First published in the Feb. 19 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Having started this past week off with Cupid’s day of love, the Burbank Sunrise Rotary Club showed their affection for local seniors by staging a pre-Valentine’s Day concert featuring Ricky Medlin, who performs as “Rat Pack Ricky,” and Larry D. Sanders, widely recognized as one of the top Elvis Presley impersonators.
Staged at the Joslyn Adult Center, the show titled “Young at Heart,” began with Rat Pack Ricky’s vocal stylings of standards from the 1950s and ’60s including hits made famous by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tom Jones and Bobby Darin.
Ricky, whose father is a retired Burbank police detective, is well-known to many Burbankers, especially those who are familiar with him from his long-standing performances in the lounge of the Smoke House restaurant.
Following a short intermission during last week’s show, Sanders took to the stage in full regalia as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. For the following hour, he took the audience on a trip down memory lane with songs from the records and films of Presley’s early career on through the hits he continued to churn out until shortly before his death in 1977.
Throughout each of their performance both Ricky and Sanders asked a woman in attendance to accept more red roses than have been delved out during all 26 seasons of “The Bachelor.” While Sanders also gifted teddy bears and scarves to a few in the gathering, and nearly all 150 attendees received a gift bag from the Rotarians at the show’s conclusion. Audience members were also invited to get up-close-and-personal with Ricky and “the King” during a post-concert meet-and-greet in which they could get photos of themselves with the day’s headliners.
“This was something we wanted to do as our gift to the seniors of our community,” said Burbank Sunrise Rotary President Maye Bernadette Stacy. “We had put on an event during the Christmas season that we called ‘Santa for Seniors,’ and we received so much positive feedback that we wanted to do something for Valentine’s Day.”
Rotarian Lee Stacy, the husband of the organization’s president, said that during his 26 years as a member of Burbank Sunrise Rotary, the service club has done so much for Burbank youth.
Among the many nonprofits they have supported are the Kids’ Community Dental Clinic; the John Burroughs Interact Club, which partner with the JBHS Animal Alliance Club to collect blankets and beds for homeless pets; the Burbank Coordinating Council’s Holiday Gift Basket program; the Burbank YMCA Social Impact Center; the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank; and the East San Fernando Valley, and the delivery of diapers and other infant items to military families at Camp Pendleton.
“Of course, we love doing those things, but like so many other nonprofit organizations, we do so much for kids. That was what got us to thinking about our seniors, who are so often overlooked,” Lee Stacy said. “We have especially felt this way over the past few years, in the age of COVID. We know there are many older people who have not been able to get out and interact with people for a long time. That is why we have decided to put on these special events for seniors, which is something we plan on continuing.”
The Sunrise Rotarians have a history of taking on a new project or putting on an event each month; however, Lee Stacy said that has been a real challenge during the pandemic.
“Even with the hurdles we have faced, we were still able to do 12 projects this past year,” he said. “Being able to do that wasn’t easy. It was something we were only able to do because of our really dedicated club members who have been willing to make things work in spite of the difficulties and challenges.”
Along with the Stacys, other Rotarians who were a part of the core committee who put on last week’s concert were Janice Lowers, Stevie Thomas and Mary Gilbert.
For more information on the Burbank Sunrise Rotary Club, visit burbanksunriserotary.com.
DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 563-1007.