Valentines at Rosthern Seniors Centre

Approximately 120 people decided to spend their Valentine’s Day evening at the Rosthern Senior’s Centre listening to the music of Back 40. The band hails from Laird, SK, and has always enjoyed a great audience turnout when they perform in the local area. Performing classic country in the likes of Johnny Cash, their repertoire also draws heavily on country gospel. Self-described as ‘just a bunch of guys doing what they love…playing country gospel music,’ David Froese, Martin Guenter, and brothers Andy and Steven Hamm are long-standing members of the group which can vary in number and composition depending on who is available at a given time.

With the current technology and the adaptive devices that are available, it was hard to tell whether one of the members was playing a banjo or an electric guitar made to sound like one, but the drums, guitars, and harmonicas combined to provide a wonderful accompaniment. When Andy pulled out his harmonicas, everyone anticipated the group's rendition of “The Orange Blossom Special.” Not everyone can master the harmonica, even though most have tried to play one at least once, but Andy masterfully switched back and forth between two of them as the group performed. Originally composed as a fiddle tune in 1938 by Ervin Rouse, it was first recorded in 1939 by Ervin and his brother Gordon in 1939. It was Johnny Cash in his 1964 recording of the tune, who replaced the fiddle parts with the harmonica.

Back 40 closed the evening of music as they customarily do with “Amazing Grace” to which all were invited to sing along.

Preceding the concert, the Rosthern Seniors Club held a bake sale to help raise money for the maintenance and upkeep of their building. While the Club does qualify for grant funding from Sask Lotteries and receives property tax concessions from the Town of Rosthern, the building itself is an old one. In its former life, the building served as the lobby for the old arena, and now in its senior years, it continues to be a gathering spot where the public can come together to enjoy some less energetic pastimes such as the musical offerings that are held once a month and the weekly games afternoons. The Centre is also available to rent for different functions.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder