The Merry Musicians just refuse to call it quits.
While the ranks of the musical group have been thinned by death and old age, there are still enough of them ready to play lively music each Tuesday at the St. Joseph’s Church soup kitchen in Langley City.
On Tuesday, Dec. 16, they were rejoined by a former member — 101-year-old Bill Lowe, a tenor saxophone player. He now lives in North Vancouver, but played with the group for many years.
The Merry Musicians have been playing together for decades. At one time, there were 13 of them. Now, there are usually eight, says Margaret Halcro, the 94-year-old pianist.
While she is legally blind, that doesn’t stop her from taking part in the musical group — or from a full and active life playing music and volunteering at Langley Seniors Centre. She is also active with the Kiwanis Club and Women of the Moose. She has been playing the piano since she was three and one-half years old.
Halcro says the group does not practice. Instead, they have made up about 16 separate set lists, and have a playlist of about 40 songs. They are so used to each other than they just settle in and play.
Hazel Copeland, 79, is the group’s leader and plays the electric guitar. Art Pettit, 97, plays saxophone. Violinist is 90-year-old Frank Towne, while drummer Joe Sullivan is a youngster, in his late 70s. Evelyn Smith plays guitar and husband and wife team Ron Hergott and Georgina Talacko, in their 80s, play the accordion and mandolin, respectively.
The Merry Musicians also play on other occasions, as opportunities present themselves.