It’s summertime and the living just got a bit easier for Peggy Keller of Ephrata.
Keller received the good news Tuesday morning that she is one of 30 finalists in the AARP Boomer Superstar contest, honored for her a cappella performance of the steamy classic “Summertime.”
She was hoping for an official notice by noontime, but got the call several hours earlier from a friend instead.
“My friend Barry called at 8:20 and said: ‘How are you this morning?’
“I said I was fine and he said: ‘You should be, you got picked!” said Keller, a 1975 Ephrata High School graduate, and current Ephrata Township resident.
She is one of 945 boomers nationwide who submitted video clips showcasing their talents. The contest was open to anyone born between 1946 and 1964, giving Boomers a chance to compete for a $5,000 prize and an audition with music label 19 Recordings.
Now, as a finalist in the competition, Keller is hoping to garner enough votes to help catapult her into the top contestant tier.
Voting for finalists is open through Aug. 11. Votes can be cast by visiting aarpcontest.votigo.com/contests/browseallentries/all/all/all/created_desc/1/all/7881. Pull up Peggy Keller’s video and click on the red “Love It” box. Voters must register but may cast a vote every day of the contest. Votes account for 25 percent of the final scores for the top contestants. Voters also have an incentive — the person who casts the most votes may win $3,000 from the AARP.
Keller, the 1974 Lancaster County Junior Miss and the 2011 Pennsylvania Senior Idol, said she is thrilled to win in summer, her favorite season, and by singing “Summertime,” her favorite song.
In fact, her rendition of “Summertime” helped her win the county junior miss title 40 years ago and her most recent statewide title just three years ago.
“I sang in a more operatic style, as in the movie, when I was in high school,” she said. “But for the contest, I performed it in a more jazzy, sassy style.”
The lyrics of “Summertime” speak to finding out who you are, learning, growing and maturing through the changes in life, Keller said.
“I think I appreciate more as a 57-year-old than I did as an 18-year-old,” she said. “You find out that you have more to offer as you move forward in life.”
Keller is likely familiar to many in the region. During her year as 2011 Pennsylvania Senior Idol, she performed at venues, particularly senior expos, throughout the state.
She sings frequently for community service groups and retirement communities throughout Lancaster, Berks, Lebanon, Chester and Dauphin counties. She also performs with the Ephrata Concert Band, most recently last Sunday.
Finalists will be flown to San Diego to compete in a live singing competition. On Sept. 5 at the AARP “Ideas@50” national event, the top five contestants will perform in front of a live audience of AARP members and a celebrity panel of judges, which include 19-time Grammy Award winning musician and producer Emilio Estefan and Grammy Award-winning R&B/jazz vocalist Patti Austin.
The Boomer Superstar contest is part of AARP’s year-long Boomers@50+ initiative which celebrates the last of the Baby Boomers turning 50.