By Ed Karvoski Jr., Culture Editor
Millbury – Elaine Savoy of Millbury bought her first apartment building at age 26 and continues to work as a real estate investor. She also continues to make time for fun activities.
In her 40s, Savoy competed and won figure skating championships. Now, she performs with singing and dancing groups.
“I’ve worked hard my whole life,” she noted. “I always had other jobs in addition to managing apartments while I was younger, so as I got older, I could do fun things – singing, dancing and ice skating.”
Initially considering an interior design career, Savoy attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design in the early-1960s. Soon afterward, she modified her career pursuit and studied at the Lee Institute School of Real Estate.
“I love taking a building that’s a little shabby, renovate it and then rent it out,” she explained. “I’ve designed a lot of total renovations.”
She has no plans to retire.
“I’ll manage my apartments for as long as I’m alive,” she vowed. “All my tenants are lovely.”
‘Show of Champions’
Savoy began ice skating at age 29. She developed ice dancing skills in her 40s.
“I wanted to learn how to skate backward,” she relayed. “Before you knew it, I wanted to do jumps and spins.”
Representing the Skating Club of Boston, Savoy and her partner competed and achieved multiple championships.
They won the adult senior dance division at the New England Regional Championships in 1981, ’82 and ’83. Also in 1981, they secured the Eastern U.S. Sectional Figure Skating Championship.
Savoy recalled, “The first time we competed, I heard the music come on and it all came together – and we won.”
Throughout the early-1980s, Savoy also performed in “Ice Chips: the Show of Champions.” At the time, “Ice Chips” took place at Boston’s 3,806-seat Walter Brown Arena. She skated in “Ice Chips” alongside several Olympic champs including Scott Hamilton, Randy Gardner and Tai Babilonia.
The performances were a chance for Savoy to learn the showbiz axiom: “The show must go on.”
“One time, I was doing a spiral and caught my foot on the curtain,” she recounted. “When you fall, you have to get up as fast as you can and pretend that nothing happened.”
Savoy started belly dancing a decade ago with the Silver Moon Gypsies at senior facilities, community events and fundraisers. The troupe’s dancers are now in their 60s to 80s.
As soon as pandemic restrictions were lifted, they returned to performing regularly throughout central and eastern Massachusetts.
“We get a lot of callbacks from places where we’ve performed before,” Savoy noted. “Now, it’s become a part-time job. We have a lot of fun entertaining and interacting with people.”
The troupe is also known for belly dancing in the annual Spirit of Shrewsbury parade. Savoy’s first time traveling along the parade route is particularly memorable.
“I danced and twirled the whole way and actually wore out the soles of my shoes,” she recalled.
Several years ago, Savoy expanded her performing experience to include singing. She joined the Post Road Chorus, a Worcester-based chapter of Sweet Adelines International.
“I had never sung in public before, but always wanted to,” she acknowledged. “I was a ‘car singer’ – singing along with the radio. It’s so much better singing in a group than by yourself.”
Among venues where she has appeared with the all-women’s four-part harmony chorus are the Hanover Theatre, Sturbridge Village and Worcester Art Museum.
In 2018, the Post Road Chorus accepted an invitation to sing at New York City’s acclaimed Carnegie Hall. There, they worked with Grammy Award-winning choral director Jerry Blackstone.
“It was absolutely phenomenal,” Savoy said of the NYC concert. “We had a blast!”
Whether at work or participating in fun activities, Savoy offers the same advice to her peers.
“You know what they say: ‘Move it or lose it,’” she advises. “There are things that people always think they want to do someday. Well, that someday is coming. Try to make time to do it.”