Positively Philadelphia: Living a Performer’s Dream, at Age 76

Positively Philadelphia: Living a Performer’s Dream, at Age 76

By Lauren Lipton

GLADWYNE (CBS) — After performing her one-woman show in New York City, singer Tonia Tecce, who lives in Gladwyne, is bringing “The Cockeyed Optimist” to the Curtis Institute of Music for its Philadelphia debut.

The show tells her own story.  And what a story it is.

“I had been dating this wonderful guy and he asked me to marry him,” she recalls.  “Then I was heard singing by this talent scout who asked me to come to Hollywood.  But I got married and I had six children.”

Years later she began to wonder, “Can I still sing?”  She went to voice coaches.

“I was 42 years old!  Eventually I did my Carnegie Hall recital, and lots of other things after that, including the Philly Pops and the Metropolitan Opera.”

She recalls her first gig with the Ocean City Pops:

“I’m ready, I’ve worked, I’m so prepared. I’m up there, the singers are on the second floor of the building. They’re all vocalizing, and I’m in a corner saying, ‘Our father, who art in Heaven. Dear Lord, I’ll never do this again, I’m so petrified.’ “

But she did do it, again and again, and is still doing it at age 76.

“I would go into New York to take auditions,” she tells Positively Philadelphia, but didn’t feel she quite fit in with the other singers. “I could have been their mother! I’d look at the girls and say, ‘Hmm, my son might like her.’ “

Don’t you just love stories like this?  No matter your age, dreams can come true!

Tonia Tecce’s performances at Curtis are on November 20th and 24th.

Hear the extended interview in this CBS Philly podcast (runs 17:00)…


And, for this week, that’s “Positively Philadelphia!”

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