Leo Ball fell off a ladder 15 years ago and hit his head and couldnâ€™t remember how to play the bass guitar, so he learned how to play the electric guitar, instead.
Now Ball performs on a regular basis with the Sunnyside Orchestra, traveling to senior centers around the area. The group also has a yearly gig at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup.
The all-senior citizen orchestra never charges for their performances and plays for the fun and enjoyment of it, said Carol Wilsey, who plays the violin with the group.
â€œI enjoy doing it,â€ she said.
The orchestra consists of two vocalists, five violinists, one piano, a trombone player, drums, guitar and a washboard player. Together they make good old-fashioned music that had the residents of the Sunset Garden Apartments tapping their feet and clapping their hands at their May performance.
Violinist Barbara Peterson said, â€œNone of us played as a younger person because we put our instruments away for job and family, and then pulled them out when we retired.â€
Ed Benson plays the drums and described himself as â€œthe rascal from California.â€
His enjoyment shines through as he performs, smiling the entire time.
â€œI play with three other groups, too, and enjoy making people happy,â€ said Benson, who worked for 39 years at Bank of America.
The room set aside for the performance at Sunset Gardens filled quickly, and when the orchestra belted out â€œThe Grand Old Flag,â€ the audience clapped their hands, tapped their feet and sang along.
The military medley had everyone involved with performances of â€œAnchors Aweighâ€ and â€œThe Army Goes Rolling Along.â€
The orchestra kept playing without taking a breather, violins in perfect unison.
Vocalists Bev Freiday and Phil Bergh entertained the crowd and sang nearly every song.
Freiday introduced each song. â€œThey play the first chorus and then we sing,â€ she said.
Freiday has been with the group, which formed in 1976, since 2004.Â â€œEveryone is friendly and it is versatile. I like to rise to the challenges, and music is always joyful,â€ she said. â€œI see the people when we play and sing and they know the songs. It is their music, and they mouth the words as we perform.â€