Enter the Assembly Hall at Carol Woods on the second Sunday of the month and the beat of jazz and swing music will greet you as members of the Carol Woods' Jazz Quartet play their hearts out.
The quartet started as a duo, featuring Howard Smither on trumpet and Ray Mack on drums, that got started early in 2004. The duo became a trio when an accordion was added, and finally expanded to a quartet form when a bassist joined the band.
The residents who started this group are passionate about their music, and it certainly shows in their heartfelt performing.
Smither and Mack are jazz enthusiasts who paved the way for this talented group of musicians to perform both locally and regionally.
The combo hosts a "Second Sunday Jam Session" at Carol Woods every month, and plays three concerts per year in the Assembly Hall. The group also performs at retirement and adult day-care centers in the area.
Their musical repertoire ranges from 1920s swing to the standards of Gershwin and Cole Porter.
The lineup includes, in various combinations, Smither, playing the flugelhorn and valve trombone; Mack on drums; Sandy Woodward, flute; Ann Woodward, bass; Glenn Snyder, accordion; and Donna Mayo, a Carol Woods triage nurse and vocalist.
The jam session frequently includes several guests and their talents, as well as the players from the combo, and the group hopes to include many more. Among regular participants are Gordon DeFriese on clarinet and saxophone, Bill Bayliss on piano, Allen Parrent on tenor vocals and Barbara Clyde on piano.
Summertime is prime time for music at Carol Woods. Residents gather in the Assembly Hall on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights during the months of June through August to enjoy artistic and cultural performances organized by the resident Summer Festival committee.
Between 90 and 150 people attend each performance, most of whom are residents happy to find great entertainment right outside their front doors.
"We like to have a variety of performers to suit everyone's tastes," said Anna Marie Maddy, a resident who has participated in the festival since its inception four years ago.
She and eight other residents, including Charles and Shirley Weiss, coordinate and oversee more than 30 performances during the summer months.
This year's Festival included The Carolina Cut Ups, the East Chapel Hill Jazz Collective, and many other talented resident musicians taking the stage along with storytellers, cloggers, and lecturers.
"This had made a big difference for the people who are here during the summer months and who enjoy this type of entertainment," Maddy said. "This is something to look forward to three nights a week and has been a very popular addition to Carol Woods' offerings."
Once the Summer Festival ends, the Wednesday Night Concert Series begins its annual schedule of entertainment running from September to May.
As part of the Wednesday Night Concert Series committee, Bob Metzger, along with other music-loving residents, assists in lining up local musicians who provide a variety of chamber, opera, and other genres of music.
The performers include professional musicians and music educators who teach at UNC, Duke, Meredith and other schools; members of the North Carolina Symphony; and talented amateurs.
"There's quite a community of talented amateurs -- doctors, lawyers, people who are really educated musicians and decided not to pursue it as a career," Metzger said.
Metzger himself said his own involvement with playing music began when "I sold my skis and bought a cello."
For more than 50 years, Metzger has made this handsome instrument a part of his life. He hasn't stopped just because he's retired.
"When I got to the point where I thought about living in a retirement community like this, it was perfect for me because my musical partners were already here," Metzger said.
Experiencing music throughout the course of one's lifetime is easy given the right environment. Metzger plays in a quartet with other musicians about once a month and gets his fill of musical entertainment through the variety of musical programs offered on campus.
Music appreciation spans the entire Carol Woods campus. Every Wednesday morning residents gather in the Country Kitchen of the health center to interact with music therapist Laura DeLoye. DeLoye plays old tunes like "Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" on the piano, with residents singing along or clapping their hands to the familiar tunes.
DeLoye brings instruments such as a guitar, tambourine, maracas, and other percussion instruments so the residents can join in the fun. She also leads a handbell choir for residents on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in the health center.
New resident Foster Owen plays an unusual mix of instruments. Owen and his tuba participate in polka music performances as a part of the "Polka Dots," a quintet of musicians that play mostly around Salisbury. The group is scheduled to release a CD next month.
Owen's other instrument of choice is the banjo, which he's been playing for 40 years. He enjoys playing Dixieland and jazz, as well as other styles, and does some work in musical production.
Once they have adjusted to their surroundings, Owen and his wife, Jean, are ready to leap in to all the musical opportunities the community has to offer.
"My sense of Carol Woods, and certainly of the entire Chapel Hill community, is that they are very much into the arts and music, and I look forward to pursuing some new avenues as I become more situated at Carol Woods," said Owen.
Fiddling comes naturally to violinist Arthur Wilde. He is a resident who plays fiddle and also performs duets with the Carol Woods folk dance teacher, Allan Troxler, once a week.
Wilde learned to play the violin as a teenager. Before coming to Carol Woods, and while he has been here, he played with various piano accompanists and performed classical pieces at the Somerset House, Carolina House and many other places locally.
During resident Dot Linberger's most musically active period, she played with an eight-handed group called the "FourMost." She played with three other pianists for 14 years and taught piano for many years, as well as performed duets.
"I have done a lot of arranging for the eight-handed group, that was a lot of fun," said Linberger.
Tickling the ivories is a popular pastime on the Carol Woods campus.
Jane Berryman, a resident pianist and scriptwriter, loves to play music for other people and doesn't mind keeping busy. She plays singalong music for residents on Thursdays and plays music for the children at the Children's Center on campus on Fridays.
Once or twice a month she plays hymns for a worship service, her favorite kind of song to perform, and once a month she plays piano for residents in a rotating schedule with residents Bill Bayless and Glenn Snyder.
As a classically trained musician, Berryman easily plays music by ear. Her musical background began at age 7 when she found a piano under her Christmas tree, and her love for the instrument has continued ever since.
Being chairwoman of the party committee at Carol Woods has given her the chance to share her love of music and performance and to tickle the funny bones of her audience.
"I love to make people laugh," she said.
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