When she retired from being a band director and general music
teacher in 2004, Janine Ptasinski was in no way ready to slow
down or let go of her creative spirit. In fact, she decided to
double down on her artistic efforts, taking on creative endeavors
she had never before explored.
Since she focused her education and teaching career on
instrumental music, Janine never had much opportunity to try
singing. Retirement changed all that, and she first joined the
choir at St. John
Cantius Church, a historic baroque church in the heart of
Chicago that regularly offers concerts and music events
performing chamber music, opera, instrumental music, and other
wide-ranging musical styles, in addition to their Sunday Mass
choral arrangements. The choir produces recordings, and Janine
can be heard on several of them singing and/or playing the flute;
they even signed a contract with Sony International Recordings,
which technically makes her an international recording artist!
Bitten by the singing bug, Janine decided to take private vocal
lessons with instructors at Columbia College where she learned
art and opera songs that allowed her to sing in German, French,
Italian, Polish, and Latin, which earned her a solo in a workshop
performance of “The Incurable Invalid” by Moliere. This led to
her performing other solo shows at senior clubs, nursing homes,
and park districts, and eventually joining the Niles Metropolitan
Chorus, a group that regularly performs choral music and
oratorios at various venues around the northern Chicago suburbs.
Janine also founded a chorus for older adults where she wrote all
the arrangements and led them in performances around the local
community. The group started with only four members and
eventually grew to 25, and Janine conducted them for nine years.
Feeling that she had more to contribute than just her musical
talents, Janine answered an ad for a wedding coordinator at St.
Vincent Ferrer Church, and for three years helped couples design
their church wedding service, from organizing the procession and
choreographing the service, to collaborating with vendors like
photographers and florists.
Always on the lookout for other creative outlets, Janine started
taking drawing classes at the
Portage Park Satellite Senior Center, where she learned to
work with charcoal, colored pencils, water colors, and oil
paints. She also joined a former colleague at a creative writing
class at St. Genevieve Church where she expanded and improved her
skills in poetry and essay writing.
And if all that wasn’t enough, Janine also decided to work on
improving her physical health, taking older adult exercise
classes and getting herself a personal trainer.
Retirement has made Janine a self-described “kid in a candy
store,” where she has discovered so many things she wants to do
and is delighted to have the time to do them all. With so much to
keep her busy, she won’t be slowing down anytime soon.