However, after yet another invitation to come, I made the long trek to Viewpoint RV park yesterday morning. It's a typical double-wide trailer park--nothing fancy. The man at the gate was helpful and directed me to the activities center in the middle of the park. Then I found my way to a small ballroom called The Garden Room.
The Garden Room is a simple and small, yet pleasant ballroom. There is a garden motif painted on the walls that is attractive and somewhat homey; I liked the space very much. But what surprised me was that--at 9am, mind you--there were about 10 couples, dressed very nicely, dancing to lively jazz music. Someone later told me that they normally have more people attend their sessions, but many are out of town for the holidays.
But I didn't come to dance, but to hear some jazz. There on the small stage sat five men, most of them around 60 years old. The pianist, however, was in his 90s and looked pretty fragile as he sat at the instrument. Yet he played with confidence, strength and skill. After they finished the number they were playing I approached the stage and was introduced to everyone. I enjoyed watching them all play, but I was particularly interested in watching Ted, the pianist; I was hoping to learn something from him.
So I watched them do number after number that morning. They're all top-notch performers. Ted knew all the songs by heart and never looked at a single sheet of music the whole time. I watched his hands, his feet; I considered his changes, his solos, his chord voicings. I took in what I could and committed it to memory. I was inspired. He really was as great as I had been told.
One of the dancing couples danced up to me during one of the numbers and the man said, "So, you're here to watch 'The Boss'?" I assumed he was referring to Ted and I nodded. He continued, "He's good and he's been playing forever." Two understatements, to be sure. I didn't ask, but I don't think Ted goes by that nickname normally. I think that man was only showing some casual respect to Ted's knowledge and skill.
I'd like to go back someday, despite the long drive and the complications it makes to my Monday schedule. People who know Ted have told me that he might not be playing that much longer and I'm sure I can learn a lot from watching him some more.
What's more, it's kind of nice to know that there is live music and people who want to dance to it at 9am on any given Monday morning.