Maywood Senior Citizens Go To Prom

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Mac Robinson and daughter.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 || By Michael Romain

Friday, MAYWOOD — Inside of T&JJ’s Banquet Hall on Fifth Avenue, a roomful of brightly patterned and glitter-sequenced senior citizens basked in the room’s jazz era ambiance. In an effort to enliven the group a bit as they waited on empty stomachs for the meal, DJ Click Clack, who frequently entertains at the American Legion on Madison Street, began an impromptu game of musical trivia.

“The first person who can guess who this is drinks on me!” Click Clack said, as a sultry vibrato almost certainly unrecognizable to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of most in the room, delighted the crowd and perhaps provoked more than a few youthful memories.

Mac Robinson certainly has his share, although he noted that time has proven a rather powerful distiller of past experiences. Tonight, he wasn’t as much looking to be young again as he was seeking that certain essence that age can only enhance–as in vintage wine or artisan cheese.

“I don’t feel young again. No, but I am having a good time. This is just a fun atmosphere. This the second one I’ve attended,” he said.

What’s billed as the Maywood Senior Club’s annual Senior Prom may initially sound like a cute joke, but the village’s senior services facilitator Larry Shapiro, reinforcing Mr. Robinson’s point, said that the event is not a parody of days gone by.

“We just do different events during the year and I thought it would be nice to do one dress-up event. It’s not so much as a double entendre. It’s just a different meaning for senior prom,” Mr. Shapiro said.

“We’ve been doing this for six years now and it’s the only event we charge for. They get a meal and a complimentary wine. It’s just one of a variety of special events we host throughout the year. We hosted our Valentine’s day lunch last month. We had winter bingo at the Meal of the Day Cafe. In May, we have our annual gospel brunch.”

As the attendees ate their dinners, saxophonist Audley Reid and his jazz band–Will Howard on bass, Derek Henderson on drums, Todd Lundy on keyboards–tested their sound on the stage. Mr. Reid, a former student of Mr. Shapiro’s at South Shore High School, has performed with acts such as Ray Parker, Jr., Buddy Guy, Vivian Green and Will Downing. That night, he’d planned on spanning his wide repertoire.

“We’re going to play a combination of everything–some jazz, blues, contemporary–we’re going to give them what they want,” he said. “We try to make sure everybody leaves happy. As long as they don’t ask me to sing, I’m in good shape.”

I left before anyone hit the dance floor. DJ Click Clack was still working the room, shuffling back-and-forth from his elevated booth to the main floor. The crowd was still indulging in his game of trivia.

To the question of the sultry vibrato blessing the banquet hall’s sound system, there was some shuffling, a minor stir, some mumbling. The name had perhaps been said a dozen times, but Mac yelled it out the loudest.

“Sarah Vaughan!”

And with that he and Click Clack coolly sauntered to the bar. VFP

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