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Salinas Dancing 50 Years Strong Posted: Jun 27, 2013 10:42 PM PDT Updated: Jun 27, 2013 10:42 PM PDT By Jasmine Viel SALINAS, Calif.- Most businesses are closed up for the night, the streets are quiet, but if you drive down to Harvest and Pajaro in Salinas on Tuesday nights you'll find a parking lot full of cars and a building throbbing with music and the sounds of tapping feet. For the past 50 years, there has been a wonderful ballroom dance class doing everything from the Fox Trot, Cha Cha, Tango, Rumba, Waltz, and Swing to live music. The tradition lives on every week at the Active Senior Incorporated Center in Old Town Salinas at the Corner of Harvest and Pajaro Streets from 7pm-9pm. Although this is a club with membership, it is not necessary to
be a member to attend the dance. The dance is open to the public for people of all ages for $8 for members and &9 for non-members each Tuesday night. As the dancers glide along a beautiful hardwood floor, the wonderful live music of the Moon Glow Band fills the room with beautiful sounds from the ballroom dance music of the 20ʼs-40ʼs. The dance is a wonderful place to socialize with friendly people. The dress is smart casual and there is plenty of well lit parking. The Active Seniors dance has been meeting for the past 5 decades, with great local bands such as Edna Lewisʼs Band, The Mary and Joe Ingram Band, the Don Irving Band, and currently, the Moon Glow Band providing live music. The Moon Glow Band has played at the dance the past 5 years and plays in the styles of the Fox Trot, Cha Cha, Tango, Waltz, and Swing. The band is lead by Bari Roberts on vocals and guitar and husband Michael Gaines on vocals and upright bass. The rest of the band is made of great local players, Mike McKinley
on drums, Craig Jardstrom on lap steel, harmonica, trombone, percussion, and cornet, and the member with the longest presence on the bandstand, Dean Peake on Tenor, Alto and Soprano Saxophone. In the past 5 years, the youngest dancers have been 28 years old and the most senior member is 99 years old and still dancing beautifully!
TOM LEYDE C-The Salinas Californian There’s almost nothing more fun than making your own music. And if you can make it with your partner, so much the better. A Salinas-area couple does just that and they’ve released their first CD. He, a stand-up bassist, and she, a guitarist, are the driving force behind the Moon Glow Jazz Band and the album is titled Moon Glow, 1st Phase …” The two, with backup musicians, have recorded a collection of jazz standards that is great background or upfront music. Bari Roberts and Michael Gaines have been together seven years, and the CD has been several years in the making. Recording started about 5 months ago, with
Gaines as engineer and cover designer. Both vocalists as well, they had the help of musician friends: Dean Peak on reeds, Fred Venecia on trombone, Bob Griffith on trumpet and flugelhorn and Don G. Pendergrass on keyboards. “He (Pendergrass) really makes us shine,” Roberts said. “He gets a lot of credit for being the frosting on the CD.” The 14-cut CD, dedicated to Gaines’ late mother, Bee, includes such songs are “Lets Get Away,” “Lady Be Good,” “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Lady is a Tramp,” and, of course, “Blue Moon.” If you like to dance ballroom or just enjoy listening to the old standards, you’ll appreciate this album. “We’ve had a lot of fun,” Gaines said. “I’ve been experimenting with recording for several years and recently got some decent equipment.” Gaines, an executive chef at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, and Roberts, an occupational therapist with the Salinas Elementary School District, began playing jazz after they began dating. She had played folk music before and he had played electric bass. They play a regular gig with the Del Monte Express Big Band and are hopeful the CD will lead to more music jobs. “We’re hoping to get a regular gig … at a restaurant,” Gaines said. He is working on a Web site for the group, moonglowband.com, which should be up and running at the end of next week. His ultimate goal is to retire and play and record music full time. With all the musicians the couple know, they are able to provide a variety
of groups, from trios to little big bands. “We’ve got some main people we like to play with,” Gaines said. But if they can’t get them, there are a number of other musicians who are available. Hopefully Gaines and Roberts will put out the other phases of the moon real soon.
Active Seniors Ballroom Dance with Moon Glow Jazz Band
Conner Jay/The Salinas Californian
Bob Miller and Fran McGrew waltz across the dance floor during Tuesday's Active Seniors Ballroom
Dance with the Moon Glow Jazz Band on Tuesday in Salinas. People of all ages are invited every
Tuesday for ballroom dancing, and the Active Seniors Inc. will hosting its annual Tea Dance April 17
at their headquarters along Harvest Street.