Senior Dancing at Oak Park Arms

Spring Dance with the Falconaires Big Band

A spring dance with the Falconaires titled, “When Music Was Music,” took place Saturday, April 22, at the Oak Park Arms Senior Living located at 408 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park. Music was from the “Great American Song Book.” This was the first ballroom dance open to the public since COVID.

Big Band at Oak Park Arms

The Falconaires manager is Al Tenuta who founded the orchestra in 2008. From the beginning, the orchestra’s focus has been on retirement communities, private events, and local festivals. The music includes the Waltz, Foxtrot, Samba, Tango, Rhumba, Mambo, Cha Cha, and both East and West Coast Swing.

The featured instrumentalists are Joe Rossi, trumpet; Darek Maicoch, trombone; Ed Zajda, saxophone; and John Scoville, drums. A sampling of songs includes “This Could be the Start of Something Big,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “The Way you Look Tonight,” “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.”

“I believe our main purpose is to educate and bring joy to our audiences,” Tenuta said. “We also get a kick out of what we do. The reward is hearing the people say ‘Oh, I remember this’ with a big smile. You can see the joy.”

Seventeen musicians comprise the Falconaires making it a legitimate Big Band orchestra. A big band is a type of musical ensemble of music that usually consists of ten or more musicians with four sections: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. Big bands originated during the early 1910s and dominated in the early 1940s when swing was most popular. The term “big band” is also used to describe a genre of music, although this was not the only style of music played by big bands.

Big bands began as accompaniment for dancing. In contrast to the typical jazz emphasis on improvisation, big bands relied on written compositions and arrangements. They gave a greater role to bandleaders, arrangers, and sections of instruments rather than soloists.

Tenuta explained there is much more to a performance than just playing music. For example, the conductor watches reactions to the volume which can be tricky with hearing aids. The choice of music depends on the audience, and songs are from the 1930s to today.

Photos from the Spring Dance

About the Oak Park Arms Senior Living

The Oak Park Arms Senior Living is a rental retirement community which provides senior housing in the form of independent living and assisted living apartments. Additional services include respite care and an award-winning adult day care program. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

For more information about the Oak Park Arms or to RSVP, call 708-386-4040.