Music to Keep Your Toes Tapping

An article from the series celebrating Hallowell’s 250th Anniversary, as published in the Capital Weekly on January 20, 2012

by Katy Perry

Music brings a balance to life at any age. It certainly did for the little girl named Elaine. That was many years ago but, even before she was able to walk alone, she found ways to reach up and strike keys on the family piano. Fact is, she has been striking piano keys ever since and making music that delights the listener.

Elaine lived in Hallowell as a child but traveled fore and near through her life but at some point found her way home. When she returned she was still dedicated to her piano and the music she created. It was about ten years ago that she and a group of musicians decided to “Get Swinging.”

Once Elaine Bender met Earland Welch and Tommy Macomber it was an easy task to locate a drummer to round out the band. Not surprising they chose to call their undertaking “Swingtime” because they concentrated on the jazzy tunes of the 1920’s right through the 1950’s. They are still doing it and, even though the audiences have heard a lot of tunes since the 50’s, those early tunes are just as popular today.

There always seems to be someone who arrives to pick up the tempo when tragedy comes. The departure of the two gentlemen was a tragedy but replacements were found and the “Swingtime Band” continues to be on call almost every week.

Hardly a month goes by that the band has not drawn a good crowd to eat and dance or simply sway to the melody at the Cohen Center in Hallowell or at the annual Senior Expo, local parties, Civic Center affairs whenever music, whenever music is needed they get a call.

Over the years replacements have been made due to changing circumstances, but the “band plays on..” Dave McInnis, Phil Perkins, Norm Perrin, Wayne Pare, Ed Evertsen, Dr. Phil Tedrick, Bob Holmes and others have picked up their clarinet, sax or guitar and kept the music coming. Everyone of the past players and those into the future, I expect, will be ready and able when Elaine gets a call to “do a gig” for some gathering. Not surprising, if you like hearing music, you like making it as much.

All the communities in Kennebec County are fortunate they can engage this dynamic group of music-makers when there is a need.