It's the music of the ages for the Stelzer family

Treble chorus: Demetra, Eric and Glen Stelzer share a love of music that crosses the generations. Eric, 101, appeared in the Rockdale Opera Company's 1948 production of Faust.
Treble chorus: Demetra, Eric and Glen Stelzer share a love of music that crosses the generations. Eric, 101, appeared in the Rockdale Opera Company's 1948 production of Faust.

When it comes to a love of musical theatre, the Stelzer family are an exercise in three-part harmony.

Eric Stelzer, 101, performed in the chorus of Faust, the first production of the Rockdale Opera Company of the Company's first opera, "Faust" in 1948.

Next month, his grand-daughter, Demetra Stelzer, 13, will be performing in her first musical production with the opera company in the chorus of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic, "HMS Pinafore", 74 years after her grandfather trod the boards at Rockdale Town Hall.

To round out the Stelzer family connection with the production, Eric's eldest son, Demetra's dad, Glen, will join her in the production.

Eric is a stalwart of the local amateur musical theatre scene having joined Rockdale Musical Society, Australia's oldest amateur musical theatre company, in 1942 before enlisting in the RAAF during WWII.

At the request of Allan Ferris, who established the Opera Company, Eric joined the chorus for the first two shows, "Faust" and "Carmen" and worked backstage in following productions.

Along with his wife Marie, now 87, Eric is a Life Member of Rockdale Musical Society, having performed and worked as Stage Manager and Committee member for many years while Marie worked front of house in the box office and as an usher..

He was President and Committee member of Hurstville Musical Society and a regular performer with the Sutherland Shire Light Opera Company.

Eric's last performance was at the age of 79 in "Call Me Madam" at Sutherland.

In all, Eric was involved in about 90 productions in local music societies, either on stage or backstage, while running his hardware store in Mortdale.

His son, Glen, first performed on stage in 1964 at the age of nine in the chorus of The Music Man with the Rockdale Musical Society.

SInce then he has been involved in about 30 productions.

When they are not treading the boards, the family has had regular singalongs at home.

Eric and Marie are excited and pleased that Demetra will maintain the family tradition of performing in the high quality local amateur musical theatre scene.

"Because I've been doing shows over the years, Demetra has been asking me to also get involved," Glen said.

"Now she is 13 she is able to join the chorus and carry on the family tradition."

While Eric won't be joining his son and grand-daughter on stage he will be watching with interest.

"Dad is still going strong. He is a good advertisement for the benefits of musical performance," Glen said.

"His love of theatre, his performing and his connection with music have given him a lot of pleasure and this has probably contributed to his longevity."

HMS Pinafore is on at the Rockdale Town Hall June 18-26. Tickets are available at www.rockdaleopera.com.au

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