The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 12, 1997 · Page 17
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 17

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, May 12, 1997
Page 17
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jf'*^;!*^-, -i' 1 "^^^ ' •• I '•.'"' ~?,".'-^jiK'{',. f ',''" ' .''•'-• Monday, Itay 12,1907 The Gospel Gramps & Grannies are Roger Burch (clockwise), Lorene Burch, Cecil Peterson, Evelyn Peterson, Marilyn Frederking, Marge Caldwell and Anne Currle at the piano. TOM DORSEY/The Salina Journal Cramps & Grannies Busy senior singers make joyful noises unto Lord, audiences By GARY DEMUTH The Salina Journal s the Bible says: "Make a joyful noise unto the tLord." According to members of the Gospel Gramps & Grannies, it doesn't have to be a perfect noise, as long as it's from the heart. "We're not always perfect, but as long as we're enjoying ourselves it's worth it," said bass Cecil Peterson. "None of our audiences have thrown rocks at us yet, so I guess we're doing all right." The Gospel Gramps & Grannies is a seven-member vocal group that has a love of gospel music and 34 grandchil- dren between them. Each Thursday they gather in an upstairs room at the Senior Center, 245 N.' Ninth, and harmonize to the piano accompaniment of group founder Anne Currie. They perform public concerts, mostly at retirement homes and churches. They'd like to perform more, but because of their tight schedules it's hard for all of them to be at the same place at the same time. "Most of us are retired, but our lives seem to be busier than ever," Peterson said. "So we use performances as an excuse for a night out with the spouses to eac and talk. I guess we should really take ourselves a little more seriously, because we get a really good response from our audiences." Besides Currie and Peterson, the other members are Lorene and Roger Burch, Marge Caldwell, Marilyn Frederking and Evelyn Peterson. A year ago, there were only the five grannies in the group. Currie wasn't satisfied with the depth of their sound, so two of the grannies convinced their gramps to come on board. The resulting balance of Cecil Peterson's bass and Roger Burch's tenor made all the difference, Currie said. "Someone overheard us practicing one day and invited us to perform in public," Currie said. "It was a big success and the ball started rolling from there. Now we've had to turn down as many performances as we've given. We just don't have time to do it all." Although the group uses some prerecorded music to get an orchestral sound, Peterson credits Currie's piano playing with giving them a unique style. "She plays the piano by ear and the way she plays, it makes both us and our audiences want to sing and dance," Peterson said. "I think that God really intended her to be a classical jazz pianist." For Currie, playing gospel music is a labor of love. She said that nothing touches her as much as the sound of gospel. "I either want to cry or dance when I play it," Currie said. "And when we sing to our audiences and they come up to us afterwards with tears in their eyes and say 'you've made my day, 1 then I know we've connected with them and we're no longer just singing for our own pleasure." That's not to say that every day is a pleasure. Currie said that on certain days the group should be called the Crumps and Groans. But they all share a bond of mutual love and commitment to each other and the music and will continue to sing as long as people want to hear them, Peterson said. "People are constantly surprised by our energy," Peterson said. "I guess no one expects a group with a name like the Gospel Gramps & Grannies to be as lively as we are."

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