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Longboat Key Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2010 7 years ago

Residents hit high note with bucket list

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Best friends Marlene Companaro and Sally Keyes began making a bucket list a couple of years ago in anticipation of their 70th birthdays. On the list:

• Take a road trip to along the coast to Louisiana. Check. The Longboat Key residents drove together to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., like “Thelma and Louise,” Companaro said.

• Rough it at a cabin in North Carolina. Check. They ate themselves silly, learned to shoot rifles and even sampled good old-fashioned peach moonshine.

• Parasail. Take golf lessons. Check. Check.

Both Keyes, 70, and Companaro, 69, dreamed of recording albums, even before they met five years ago while singing in the choir at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church. Companaro had sung with nightclub acts in the Trenton, N.J., area. Keyes studied music, art and theater in Denver and performed in student plays. But for Companaro, a mother of three, and Keyes, a mother of six, time constraints always got in the way.

But around Christmas time last year, both women began to consider seriously the idea of making an album together. Both women enjoyed the Old Standards and began kicking around songs. At the beginning of the year, they discussed the idea of the album with Keyes’ son, Timothy Keyes, a producer for API Records. And by April, the duo was in a recording studio in Watchung, N.J. They stayed at a bed-and-breakfast and spent three 14-hour days in the studio.

On Aug. 31, API Records will release the 12-song “Diamonds in the Rough” CD with classic songs such as “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Nevertheless (I’m in Love With You).”

The album will be available through and on iTunes. And, so far, it has received good reviews.
“We played it for our sewing group,” Keyes said. “They loved it.”

Both women say that recording an album was a learning experience. One lesson they learned in preparation for the CD’s release: Don’t sign your autograph the way you sign a check. (It could lead to forgery.) But the most important lesson can be summed up in their choice for the album’s final track. It’s called “Dream,” because it’s never too late to follow your dreams, they say.

But for Companaro and Keyes, the completion of the CD doesn’t mark the end of the bucket list — or their dreams. There are still the trips they want to take to Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone Park. They’re also hoping for another “Thelma & Louise”-style road trip, this time with their golf clubs in the trunk. They want to drive north to Maine, stopping at golf courses along the way. Also on the list: Record a Christmas album.
They’re hoping that will get checked off in 2011. But the list will keep growing, they say, because they plan to keep adding to it, to keep making plans to fulfill new dreams.

The pair says they are now operating under a new philosophy: “Don’t ask ‘why,’ say ‘why not?’”

Bucket list
Here is Marlene Companaro’s and Sally Keyes’ bucket list:

Checked off:
• Drive from Florida along the coastline to Louisiana
• Go parasailing
• Visit the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach
• Rough it in a cabin in Seluda, N.C.
• Drive to Texas and stay at a cattle ranch
• Record an album of their favorite standards
• Learn to play golf

Next up:
• Take trips to Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park and the Giant Redwoods of California
• Visit the Grand Canyon National Park and ride donkeys to the bottom
• Go for “the big one” next tarpon season
• Record a Christmas album • Take another “Thelma & Louise” car adventure with stops at golf courses from Florida to Maine

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].

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