- The resplendent golden shine of the saxes, trumpets and trombones
complemented the silver in the hair of musicians in Don Michael's
- They swung energetically one afternoon last week through
memorable old classics such as Count Basie's "one O'Clock
Jump." (Forget that the time was 1 p.m. and not the 1 a.m.
that the title refers to.)
- On the dance floor between lunch courses and later, a crowd
of seniors from Suffern, Somers and Port Chester were approximating
old jitterbug steps. It was more than enough to distract you
from the spectacular autumnal view over the Hudson from Rudy's
Beau Rivage in Dobbs Ferry.
- "We're trying to reproduce the Big Band days at the
Paramount," said Angelo Tallarico, the "Don Michaels"
of the band. At 74, he's mindful of other aging musicians from
the swing era who aren't finding much work these days, especially
during the week.
- "I used to work for Les Brown," chipped in trombonist
Charlie Henry, 67. "Now I work for less money."
- So Tallarico has formed Senior Holiday Productions. "I
tried to create a market in the afternoon for the musicians,"
he explained. "I got a list of all the senior centers, made
up a flier, and did a mailing. And as a result, we got these
- Frank Sisco of New Rochelle, who created the senior musings.com
website, was instrumental in bringing the band to Westchester.
- Danny Repole, who at 77 plays trombone in the band and is
associate professor of music at Kingsboro College, told me, "In
many of our eyes and ears, the Big Bands have never gone away.
When we play, "In the Mood," the young people get up
and do their thing. It gets them motivated. And the excessive
loudness and the rap groups with their electronics have been
bothering a lot of people."
- Ron LoPinto, 68, plays trumpet and has been a musician for
60 years. "I keep plugging," he told me, but he added
that to "make a living" he also operates Arista Camera
Specialists with a store in Bronxville.
- Fran Carol is the band's vocalist. She sang with Stan Kenton,
Woody Herman, Charlie Barnet and both Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.
I asked her how old she is.
- She stared at me and said, "Are you kidding? God has
been good to me that I can still sing. We're trying to keep the
music alive and I keep myself alive doing it."
- The leader of the 66 members of the Senior Citizens of Suffern
attending the luncheon and dance was Ralph Jeffrey, 74, the club's
trip coordinator. "They're enjoying themselves and reminiscing
the songs," he said of his group.
- Fifty-five members of the Somers senior citizens group were
present, led by Barbara Yannacone.
- And 25 members of the Port Chester Nutrition Program were
there with leader Carol Nielson.
- Send comments to Bill Bookman in care of Living Section,
The Journal News, I Gannett Drive, White Plains, NY 10604.