The sounds of Big Band music played on a small scale drew people in The Community House in Hinsdale down the hall to where senior musicians were jamming.
About 10 men and women singing or playing a musical instrument, performed American classics May 15 such as “Hello Dolly” and “It Had to be You.”
Beth Madura works at the Community House, but when she got off work at 2 p.m., she stayed around to listen.
“I love the way they jam,” said Madura, who lives in Willowbrook.
In her second life, Madura sees herself as a torch singer stretched across a piano.
“I love to sing,” she said.
Lee Perington of Geneva, who sang and played the ukulele, enticed her to the microphone. A few tunes later, Madura left, but pledged to return for a future session.
Children from the Montessori Language Academy PM class, which is held at the Community House, sat outside the doorway listening, until they were invited into the room.
“It is just awesome,” said Montessori teacher Mona Sahli.
The children were learning about musical instruments and making their own, she said.
The “senior jam session” is the idea of Hinsdale resident Don Moritz. He has a band with a few friends, called Plinks and Plunks, which plays in the area. There are a lot of people who played an instrument growing up or in high school or college. Once they get to a certain age, they have nowhere to play, Moritz said.
They can play by themselves, but “that’s called practicing and that’s boring,” he said.
Moritz pitched the idea to the Community House staff for a monthly session where musicians “of retirement age” can drop by with their instrument and join in.
“It’s as extemporaneously put together as you can get,” Moritz said.
They are not rehearsing or preparing for a concert.
“It’s strictly for our amusement and amazement,” Moritz said.
They play a song through and with a twirl of the finger, someone can ask the group to play it again.
“You stop playing when you are done, and sometimes it takes awhile ’til you’re done,” Moritz said.
Different musicians suggested different songs from the 25 pieces Moritz provided.
Drummer Kathy Williams suggested “Under the Double Eagle.”
“It’s like a polka,” she said.
“If you don’t know it, just play quieter,” one person advised.
Williams has played gigs with Moritz and the Plinks and Plunks, but others were complete strangers.
Gladys Shirey of Darien came for the first time May 15.
“I’m winging it,” Shirey said. “I play at Christ Church, but I’m not used to playing with a group.”
Ruth Davenport of Indian Head Park said she came to “to check it out. Next time, I’ll bring my guitar.”
Davenport has taken lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music, but does not take her musicianship too seriously.
“I have no need to be really good. I just want to have fun,” she said.
That’s the main reason for coming.
“All that’s required is you have to bring your own instrument and read music well enough to read a lead sheet,“ Moritz said. “All instruments are welcome, including voice.”
“This thing will build,” he said.
The next session will be June 19.