Hancock's Old Home Day in perfect SYNC
Four-year-old Nellie MacDonald of Deering and her grandmother Eileen Eber of Greenfield applaud the Hancock Old Home Day Parade Saturday morning. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent)
Four years ago, town librarian Amy Markus resurrected the Old Home Day tradition for what she thought would be a one-time event.
“It was about five years ago that I found out from one of the older women in town that years ago, every Old Home Day the women of Hancock and the teenage girls would put on a synchronized swimming routine in Norway Pond. And the lightbulb went off. I thought we needed to bring that back. It hadn't been done probably since the '70s,” Markus said.
The tradition went back as far as the 1950s, Markus said, and had a more athletic approach than what the Synchro Sistahs bring to the sport.
“I loved Esther Williams' movies and Busby Berkeley movies and all that choreography that makes designs. So it's tongue-and-cheek and very kitschy and very fun,” Markus said.
The first year, 13 women agreed to swim with Markus.
“It became a huge hit at Old Home Day. We were not expecting it at all. The first year we did it we thought it would be just friends and family, but the whole hillside filled up. My God, we were aghast. It was such a hit we felt like we should keep doing it,” she said.
This year, 10 women, ranging in age from 27 to 70, performed.
“We have a ton of fun. It's been a ton of laughs. It really bonded us,” Markus said.
The fourth annual Hancock Synchro Sistahs Old Home Day show got off to a rocky start, however, when the CD of the first song to be performed to — Aretha Franklin's “Respect” — skipped and jumped.
The women persevered, though, and a routine to a current hit, “Somebody That I Used To Know,” went swimmingly.
The show concluded with a routine to an old hit from the 1960s, “Pata Pata” by Miriam Makeba, in which 10 young Hancock girls joined the group of Synchro Sistahs.
“We hope they grow up to be Synchro Sistahs one day,” Markus said.
The three-day Old Home Day event began Friday evening with a magic show on the town common and an ice cream social in the church vestry.
The Hancock Old Home Day events on Sunday includes a tennis tournament, church service and a lawnmower race.
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Meghan Pierce may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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