A pensioner band in Witley is Livin’ on a Prayer (and their pensions).
For his 78th birthday Malcolm Ellis was given a drum kit by his wife of 54 years. Patricia listened to her husband learning to play the drums for 18 months, until in 2019 he decided he was bored of retirement and decided to form an old age pensioners’ band.
Malcolm put feelers out in the local press and was overwhelmed with the response – apparently he was not the only man in his 70s who wanted to Play that Funky Music.
Soon The Dusty Pensioners Band was born and they began to rehearse, getting themselves ready for their first ‘gig’. Until Covid came along and put everything on hold for three years.
But The Dusty Pensioners Band was back in action in January of this year. The group now has ten members with a combined age of about 601, with Malcolm the oldest at 83.
He said: “I started the band because I wanted to do something meaningful.
“It has been great fun but hard work. We wanted to play because we love music and we just keep getting better.”
The band plays classic hits from the 1950s, 60s and 70s on drums, keyboard, guitars, vocals, saxophone and a harmonica. After months of hard rehearsals, The Dusty Pensioners Band performed its very first public ‘gig’ last weekend in a charity garden party in aid of The Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice in Farnham.
Sixty people attended the ‘gig’ on Sunday.
Malcolm said: “Most of the audience were friends and neighbours so it was not too daunting. We were delighted, and maybe a little nervous, to play in front of our VIP 93 year old guest Cyril Bevan who drummed with Oscar Peterson and Winifred Atwell.”