A story in today’s Fort Wayne, Ind., Journal-Gazette, tells about a group that gets together to “jam” at Grace Village Retirement Center, Winona Lake, Ind., each week. The group includes Dr. John Davis, president emeritus at Grace College, and J.D. Woods, a current faculty member at the college. A portion of the story appears below. Click here to read the complete article and to watch a video of a recent session at the Old Jail Museum in Warsaw, Ind.
Jams keep music alive
Warsaw bluegrass sessions like a ‘family reunion’
Betty Dobbs, who says her natural rhythm lends well to playing the musical washboard, says that the jams often cross a number of genres.
“We really play all kinds of music, bluegrass, old country and sometimes even some old folk music might trail in there every once in a while, and of course, gospel,” she says. “It’s just really fun to be around other musicians who enjoy performing the same types of music you do.”
Welch says musicians meet for additional jams every third Saturday at the old Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge in Warsaw, and on most Thursdays a group of jam musicians play for the residents at Grace Village Retirement Community in Winona Lake.
“Sometimes, there’s 20 players there, and we play country, gospel, bluegrass and protest songs for some of (the residents) who were in college when that music was popular during the ’70s,” he says.
Carol Buhlmann, coordinator for Grace Village’s Resident Services, says as the performance has grown over the years, some of the musicians go upstairs and have a jam for the assisted living residents who can’t make it down to the dining room.
“Boy, they are consistent. They come all the time. I practically have to beat them off even for holidays,” she says laughing. “The residents find that it lifts them up and some of them are prone toward depression sometimes, so they find it to be a very uplifting, encouraging moment in their week.
“That’s a big comment I often hear.”
Dobbs says she remembers how one of the residents approached her a few weeks ago after she sang the hymn “In The Garden,” the Thursday before Mother’s Day.
“When I was little, my mom didn’t sing lullabies, she sang old hymns, like ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘In the Garden’ and ‘The Old Rugged Cross,’ and I lost my mom over three years ago, and I felt like I needed to do something to honor her,” she says.
“I had a gentleman come up to me afterwards and said, ‘You made me cry – you brought back the memories of my mom because she would sing those songs to me when I was a baby.’ ”
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I connected’ – that’s the joy that we get when we can touch someone else that way,” she adds. …
Click here to read the complete article and to watch a video of a recent session at the Old Jail Museum in Warsaw, Ind.