Let’s rock and roll, baby!
The highlight of retirement is resuming an activity which in the past brought joy and excitement into your life. Why not grab your guitar and form a neighborhood band?
“In 2015, the Senators subdivision was fairly new and a few of us met each other at neighborhood events, but we discovered that we each played musical instruments,” said Tom Myers. “As more new neighbors arrived, we discovered many shared our enthusiasm for starting a band.”
Their group, the Senatones, performs several musical genres including R&B, the Beatles, folk ballads and good old rock ‘n’ roll. Tom Myers, who plays drums and guitar, also performs as Elvis to standing ovations.
Saxophone player Mark Stolp recalled, “It was really Tom Myers’ persistence that ultimately brought all of us together. I played sax, guitar and did a little background singing in a do-wop band when I was 18-19 years old.”
Resident Larry Krevor has purchased a new keyboard. “I had played keyboards in rock bands in high school and college, and was retiring and wanted to get back into music,” he said. Krevor organizes which songs they will learn, and plays organ, piano, electric piano and synthesizer parts depending on the song. He said, “I now use two keyboards so I can play multiple parts when needed or provide the required sound at different parts in a song.”
Band member Joel Campbell started playing guitar in 1963; he played in garage bands for six years in Arkansas. He boasts that Bill Clinton was a part-time roadie for a couple of gigs he played. Campbell said, “Being a part of this group has enabled me to fulfill one of my retirement goals, playing rock and roll again. It’s a great feeling to get people to dance and enjoy the music and have fun. The best benefit is the great friendship which has formed among the bandmates.”
Many years ago, Jim Stevens played guitar and bass, and Don Lintvet played keyboard in high school and college, and classic rock in garage bands. In 2015, when they first met, they talked about how much fun it would be to have a garage band again. Lintvet said, “We never lost the feeling and thrill of playing for an audience.”
Stevens said, “I met Bob Maro at a clubhouse party where we had a DJ and he did a couple of karaoke numbers, so I asked Maro if he was interested in a neighborhood band and he joined.”
Maro said, “I've been playing in garage bands since I was 13, but college, med school, wife and kids, and a busy medical practice took away a lot of time to play. I’m not much of a singer, but I have no inhibitions about belting out some songs.” Maro plays the 12-string guitar, tambourine, electric guitar and a little keyboard.
Bob Jaccino was the last member to join the band, in summer 2019. “I bring an energy and comedic level the guys enjoy. What's surprised me is how well we all get along and how much fun we have at rehearsals, whether it's nailing down a song or flat-out jamming sometimes,” he said. Jaccino plays trumpet, flugelhorn and various percussion instruments, does vocal harmony, and takes the lead on a few songs.
Dave Hardin had played lead guitar for several bands, and he was just retiring from his corporate job in Boston before moving to the neighborhood. Hardin is the lead guitarist emeritus, and works on sound and recording with John Bracco.
Bracco is considered a band member despite not playing an instrument. Krevor said Bracco’s professional experience in handling the band’s sound levels and vocal mixes during practices and performances is invaluable.
The group has met many challenges. Stolp said, “It hasn't been easy picking up the sax and figuring things out 45 years later. At times, I've been surprised at some of the material we've been able to pull off.”
“Perhaps the biggest challenge,” said Krevor, “is that we’re not kids anymore. We’re seniors, and it’s not easy to move heavy amplifiers and PA systems. Moreover, as we age, some of the members are dealing with physical issues that affect what they can play.”
Myers said, “COVID has been a big challenge by preventing us from getting together and practicing as much as we’d like.”
“It's hard to hit the high notes when we get older,” laughed Maro. “We come from varied backgrounds and are different ages, but we have a passion for music and great camaraderie. What is most rewarding is having fellow musicians become my best friends.”
The band has about 70 songs in its playbook, and they practice once a week or more to learn new ones. Everyone in the band contributes to developing the song list. Neighbor Richard Langwell has served as a valuable videographer.
The Senatones have only performed for Senators neighborhood events including holiday and summer parties, and an outdoor concert during COVID restrictions, but their audiences have topped 100 people. “We think we exceeded our neighbors’ expectations after our first gig in the clubhouse, as we received great applause and appreciative comments from the attendees including calls for encores and cheers,” said Krevor.
At the December holiday event, the Senatones surprised the crowd, with some of the wives joining them onstage as The Senatonettes for a rendition of Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby” complete with props and choreography.
The Senatonettes include Dianne Stevens, Suzanne Obusek, Margie Norris-Krevor, Pam Jaccino and Stacy Stolp.
They look forward to getting together to play for the community and plan to keep on rocking. “Hopefully, the Senatonettes will make an appearance this summer,” said Jim Stevens. “I need to ask my wife first!”
Myers, aka Elvis, is ready to get back in the action. “We look forward to providing more music and good times for our friends and neighbors in Senators,” he declared. “Let the good times roll!”