We arrived at the retirement home cheerful and a bit apprehensive, in separate cars, and loaded the equipment inside; we were to perform at the top of the stairs, where the piano was, and so we spent 10 minutes lugging instruments and stands and components of the drum set there.

Finally, once the elderly crowd was assembled, we played – our usual set, the one performed a week before at the fall concert. Timidly at first, despite Mr. Roberts' boisterous conducting, because we were afraid for the sensitive ears of our audience, then a bit more loudly. I played a passable solo on A Night in Tunisia and a nice one on When the Saints Go Marching In. The people seemed to be enjoying themselves.

I've always found the idea of a nursing home rather depressing; after a long and perhaps enjoyable life, you end up staring into space with a trickle of drool running down your chin in a smelly room with nobody to talk to. In practice, however, there seemed to be a wide variation of mental capacities; there were a few people who looked miserable and not-totally-there (including one, I was told afterward, who was covering his ears the whole time, which none of the nurses noticed), a few who seemed bored, and a few who enjoyed the concert greatly, and told us so with shining eyes; one in particular I can imagine at a '50s-era jazz club (he still had that sort of hairstyle going, and exuded a bit of coolness).

Continued: March 30, 2001

Node your Humanities class community service requirement. Really. Node it.