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Style Magazine

Senior Funtime Band

May 31, 2008 05:00PM ● By Super Admin

About three years ago, community leader, Moni Gilmore, had an inspired idea – why not bring together a bunch of musically inclined local seniors and form a volunteer band? Turns out, Gilmore was no stranger to senior programs either. She held many positions in local government, including the fire department, and was instrumental in the process of converting the old fire station into the now, El Dorado Hills Senior Center. With that feat behind her, she decided to turn her attention to music. Sadly, Moni Gilmore passed away in April of this year, but her dream lives on in the Senior Funtime Band.

After running a few articles in the local newspapers, the band began to take shape. Soon enough, the band was performing at local venues and events, entertaining mostly seniors with some of their favorite melodies. Toes were tappin’, hands were clappin’ and the band became an instant crowd favorite.

The band consists of seven dedicated members, each with their own musical forte. The bandleader, Al Kolthoff, a retired software developer, plays guitar. Leading the band in vocals is Connie Backers, who spent half of her life in law enforcement and the other half as a nurse. According to Kolthoff, Bob Hoffman plays the same trumpet that he did in high school. “He is now 70 and has the nickname Hercules, because he can easily lift one of our speakers, one-handed at 70 pounds each,” boasts Kolthoff. About 20 years ago, Frank Larossi became paralyzed from the waist down from a spider bite, but that doesn’t stop him from playing a mean saxophone tune. Eric Phillips, a retired geologist, not only sings and plays the banjo, he also enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with other local seniors. Rounding out the band are Lori Hovestandt, a keyboardist who played the piano and organ all of her life, and Laura Iarossi, a sound mixer, who up until three years ago had no prior experience.

When this gifted crew gets together and performs, it’s a nostalgic journey though jazz and big band songbooks of the 20s, 30s and 40s. Some of their favorite and most requested tunes include “Dream,” “Goody Goody,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Lazy River,” “Ain’t She Sweet,” “My Blue Heaven,” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” to name a few.

The Senior Funtime Band performs a concert on the last Friday of each month at 1 p.m., at the El Dorado Senior Center. Their summer schedule includes a performance on June 4, at the El Dorado Hills Library (open to all ages), and a gig at the annual Seniors Fourth of July Celebration.

“Our goals are to have fun playing music and to entertain seniors, and to do so on a volunteer basis,” says Kolthoff. Judging from the great chemistry that these band members have on stage, it’s safe to say this group is hitting all the right notes and having a ball doing it. •


Through July 11 – Shadows of the Past. Enjoy works from watercolor artist Kara Castro and photography by George and Jo Ann Aiello on exhibit at The Gallery at 48 Natoma. 916-355-7285.

Through July 27 –The Language of the Nude: Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body. This exhibition brings nearly 60 rarely seen drawings to the Crocker Art Museum. For details on this exhibit or for more information, call 916-808-7000 or visit