The SaddleBrooke Singers are busy rehearsing a wonderful variety of music for their 2023 spring concert. Should you walk by the SaddleBrooke One Activity Center at the start of the new year, it’s likely you’ll hear a chorus of voices and a few jazz notes from our incredible pianist Sly Slipetsky. Tanya Elias, our talented director, has selected upbeat jazzy tunes for our April 12 show and titled our performance, “Swingin’ On A Song.”
Onstage you will see the many wonderful people who make up the SaddleBrooke Singers. Amongst those folks will be Mike Rutt, one of our newest members. If you attended our Christmas concert, you heard his beautiful solo. Mike first performed onstage at age 3 in church. Though he’s never had formal voice training, he took piano lessons into his young adult years along with a sprinkle of clarinet and saxophone instruction. His piano teacher always made sure he performed in her annual recitals.
Performers Inspire Musical Aspirations
Mike states: “Performers tend to feed my inspiration and energy to pursue musical opportunities. My favorites include Karen Carpenter, Elton John, Josh Groban, the Doobie Brothers, Celine Dion, Chicago, and Barry Manilow.” These musicians likely had a bit of influence on Mike’s decision to play alto sax in junior high concerts with his children, to become a church organist and pianist in Des Moines and Atlanta, and to sing and play keyboard in a steel drum band and also to join the SaddleBrooke Barbershop Chorus.
Born to Des Moines, Iowa, school teachers, Mike worked full time for Ma Bell after graduating from high school while attending night classes at college. Over the next 45 years he worked as a financial analyst for AT&T, moving his wife and two children for his work in Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas. His son and wife live in Atlanta and his daughter and husband live in Marana.
Retiring to SaddleBrooke
The Rutt’s 12-year-old Wheaten Terrier, Tucker, moved with them to Tucson full-time in March 2020. “My wife and I moved into our home the week that the SaddleBrooke community closed all the venues and discontinued club and group activities. Well, some things are simply out of our control, aren’t they?” Now Mike can enjoy hiking, ballroom, and western partner dancing, spinning, playing bridge, POP tennis, cooking, and meeting new people.
His retirement means he has more time to devote to his musical interests and allows him to meet and enjoy many like-minded folks here while making music. He spends many hours practicing alone, with fellow musicians, and memorizing music, all of which he finds to be very rewarding and satisfying.
Mike says, “As 2023 unfolds, I want to keep active, make music, be intentional at choosing to be happy, and to always lead with love.”