Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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Jammin' with the oldies

Seniors, others make music together during regular jam sessions at Perrysburg center

  • FEA-jam22p-Marty-Brogan-and-Richard-Escott

    Guitar player Marty Brogan, second from right, and bass player Richard Escott, right, are two of the jam session’s founders.

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  • FEA-jam22p-group

    A weekly jam session at the Perrysburg Senior Center of the Wood County Committee on Aging in Perrysburg.

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  • FEA-jam22p-Art-Osenbaugh

    Art Osenbaugh plays fiddle during a recent jam session.

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    'I’ve been making noise for 17 years,' said 87-year-old William Pylant, one of the group regulars.

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  • FEA-jam22p-A-woman-plays-a-guitar

    A woman plays a guitar during one of the jam sessions.

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  • FEA-jam22p-Leslie-Poolos

    Performers including Leslie Poolos, center, play instruments at the Perrysburg Senior Center.

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    Leslie Poolos playing the hammer dulcimer.

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It is said that music has the power to connect souls. Those connections might not be more evident than on most Wednesday afternoons at the Perrysburg Area Senior Center, where music is played and toes are a-tappin’.

One might even be inclined to get up and dance, should he or she be drawn into the vortex of music surrounding the circle of musicians who gather there. Fiddles, guitars, a hammered dulcimer, a bass, wooden spoons, and a banjo or two are sure to be part of the mix at the weekly, two-hour congregation known — by those in the know — as the Perrysburg Jam Session.

“I’ve been making noise for 17 years,” said 87-year-old William Pylant, one of the group regulars.

He travels from his residence at Otterbein Portage Valley Senior Lifestyle Community in Pemberville, Ohio, at 1 p.m. on three Wednesdays a month to make music at the Perrysburg center, 140 W. Indiana Ave.His weapon of choice is the dobro.

He’s joined by friends — some old, some new, some older, some younger — who have been gathering for the jam sessions for more than 10 years. They include his wife, Doris, who plays both the fiddle and wooden spoons; 89-year-old Art Osenbaugh, a fiddle player of 40 years, and 66-year-old guitar player Marty Brogan.

The group passes the musical torch around the circle, each choosing a song to commandeer as the rest dive in. On a recent Wednesday, the musical playlist ranged from Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” to a catchy fiddler’s tune.

VIDEO: Jam session at Perrysburg Senior Center

Sit in the audience. Sing along. Or grab your instrument and join them. All are welcome.

“Anyone can come,” said Cheryl Fix, the center’s site manager. “Sometimes in the summer, the grandkids who are learning to play the guitar come and play. Sometimes there are two or three playing, and sometimes 15.”

Mr. Brogan brought the idea to the senior center after moving to Perrysburg from Sylvania, where he had been a part of a similar group of gathering musicians. He grabbed a few buddies from Sylvania, including bass player Richard Escott, 88.

“We came and played one day and people saw us,” he said. “Someone brought a fiddle the next week. People told their neighbors. Some people who come have played for 50 or 60 years, and some are just picking it up.”

On the third Wednesday of every month, the group moves its act to Genesis Village on Reynolds Road in Toledo. That jam session takes place at 1 p.m. as well and is also free.

Contact Roberta Gedert at: or 419-724-6075 or on Twitter @RoGedert.

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