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Moving to the music

Sharee O'Haver enjoys exercise with a beat

Sharee O'Haver enjoys exercise with a beat

December 07, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

When Sharee O'Haver, 61, of Funkstown, hears music she just can't help but move.

And it's actually that love of music and dance that in a roundabout way has led to her career as member services director for Hagerstown's YMCA.

When O'Haver moved to Hagerstown from California 35 years ago, she had two small children in tow.

She said she was looking for something that had to do with dance.

"Dance had been my life," she said, sitting in her YMCA office. "I took tap, jazz, Hawaiian and ballet."

So when she saw an advertisement for aerobic dancing being offered at the YMCA, at its former downtown location, she thought she'd try it out.

"I didn't know what 'aerobic' meant. I thought it had to do with aerobatics," she said with a laugh.

Excited, she came to her first class with her ballet shoes ready for a dance class. She was told what she really needed was a good pair of sneakers. The class she had signed up for was Jacki Sorensen's Aerobic Dancing, which is choreographed dance.

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That class opened an entire new realm to her, combining music with her love of being active. She soon landed a part-time job with the YMCA teaching classes in ballet and tap. She said she became the fitness director about 18 years ago.

Throughout the years, she took on more responsibilities. She became member services director and supervises aquatics, fitness and the front desk.

"At the Y, you wear many hats, but you never give up any," she said with a laugh.

Through it all, O'Haver said she has enjoyed being as active as she can.

"I love music. I love movement," she said.

And even though she's had both knees replaced, O'Haver said she found ways to adapt her exercise program to fit her condition. For instance, when she had her knee surgeries, she made her way to the pool for exercise.

She is constantly finding new ways to blend exercise and dance in her daily life. That's why one of the classes she teaches is Zumba, which uses Latin and international music with a cardio workout. The salsa music of Zumba, she said, is one of her favorites.

"It's very energetic," she said.

The class attracts all ages, some even bringing their children along.

O'Haver has a drawing hanging from her bulletin board in front of her desk. The drawing from Ronda, a young girl who participates in Zumba with her dad, reads "Zumba Rocks!"

"Being active has been my goal all my life," she said. "I average four to five classes a week. It's my passion."

She said she especially loves leading group exercise classes.

"It's just the energy of the crowd," she said.

O'Haver said as a baby boomer she knows that keeping active is important as she gets older. Exercise can help with maintaining muscle conditioning and balance.

And she's not the only baby boomer who knows that exercise matters as one ages. She said 60 percent of the YMCA's membership is made up of seniors.

And for the Y, that means a large group of loyal members.

"They don't like it when we have to cancel a class when it snows," she said.

O'Haver has been married to Frank "Rocky" Buberl for 15 years. Together, they have five children and eight grandchildren. She said she'll continue to keep active as long as there's music to dance to.

"I always wanted to dance with Fred Astaire," she said. "I desperately wanted to be his partner. All my life, it's been about music."

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