by Jim McGregor/Special to Langley Advance Times
If you love making music, you’ll want to sit in with the Langley senior centre’s jam sessions.
Otto Stern is the current organizer of the sessions.
“The group started out with four members performing here on stage about 12 years ago.” Stern recalled. “We usually have about five people, but we have been getting more out since COVID.”
The sessions now happen once a week, on Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m., at the centre.
People don’t have to be a member of the centre for the first three visits. But after that, they must join to continue.
Jim Simpson is one of the original members.
“This is great fun, and we’re glad to be back playing,” said Simpson.
“We all love music, and it gives a chance to meet new people, too,” Stern added, noting there is no agenda and no judging.
“Somebody picks out a tune and we just join in. If somebody gets stuck on a note or a chord, we’re all ready to help the out.”
Newcomers are welcome. Their simply asked to bring an instrument and “your smile, and you’re in!”
Darlene Marion is the line dance instructor at the Langley seniors centre, and after teaching line dancing for more than 25 years, she says her enthusiasm is still contagious.
“We have 18 to 25 people in our class each week, and they all enjoy the dancing and the socializing.”
“Coming back after a two-year layoff, many thought they would forget the step. But, they picked right up again,” she said.
“Line dancing is great for both physical and mental stability. It provides physical strength and balance, as well as working the brain to memorize the dance steps. It’s a great cardio-vascular workout, as well. They are also happy to be back doing something they love and being with good friends again. It’s great therapy for seniors,” Marion concluded.
There are member and non-member fees for the classes and they meet at the Langley seniors centre once a week on Tuesdays, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Gloria Hall is the interim choir director for the Langley Senior Resources Society’s choir, and she’s equally happy to hear music emanating from the centre.
Hall is also happy to be back with the group after the COVID hiatus.
“Right now, we have 36 members, and they are all extremely happy to be back singing again. The weekly choir sessions are a very important outing for them.” There is a cost to join of $36 to cover expenses, and choir members must be a member of the Langley Senior Resources Society in order to join.
The choir meets once a week, on Fridays, at the seniors centre, starting at 10 a.m.
Hall said they are looking forward to performing again.
Traditionally they performed at senior centre function, and a few local fundraisers such as breakfast with Santa or community events such as Remembrance Day.
“We enjoy singing at seniors’ residents as the people are so happy to see us. Sometimes our members see a resident crying, and they start crying, too. It’s very emotional and memorable for all of us. There is a lot of scientific evidence to support how music transforms our breathing and helps balance our whole system. That’s why this involvement is so important for them,” said Hall.
Music and dance for seniors is not restricted only to the Langley Senior Resource Society.
Brookswood Senior Centre also offers music and line dance programs to its members as well.