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Senior shares musical talents

While he has played guitar on and off since he was 14 years old, David Beck now has the time to play in several bands on a regular basis at local senior centers and at his church.

Beck, who retired from Davidson County Schools five years ago after 30 years as a member of the heating and air conditioning team for the system, said he has enjoyed picking up from where he left off when he played in garage bands as a teenager. The Chair City native is a member of the Thomasville High School Class of 1968.

These days, Beck plays bass guitar with a band called Casper and Friends, led by Jerry Casper, the first and third Friday morning at the Lexington Senior Center and the second Friday morning at Piedmont Crossing Retirement Center.

“We play some old rock ‘n’ roll, classic country, gospel — we mix it up quite a bit,” he said. “We try to play something that will appeal to everybody.”

Beck got into playing with Casper and Friends after he joined the Thomasville Senior Citizens Club upon retirement and then got involved with the Senior Games and Follies organized by Davidson County Senior Services.

When Beck and his wife, Sherry, who was the 2016 Ms. Senior Davidson County, attended their first Senior Games at the Lexington Senior Center four years ago, they were onlookers checking to see what the event was all about. Since then, they have been annual participants. In fact, Beck is now a member of the Senior Games Advisory Committee, which is charged with coming up with new events each year.

“We came and made a day of it that first time — it was a lot of fun,” he said. “People were playing croquet, horseshoes, doing the corn hole toss — games we used to play in our back yard.”

About nine months ago, Beck and his wife, who have lived in Lexington the past 25 years, also began volunteering to deliver Meals on Wheels on the Cotton Grove route every Tuesday. He said homebound seniors, sometimes wheelchair-bound or tethered to oxygen tanks, seem to appreciate their effort.

“It might be the only meal they get that day and you might be the only person they see that day,” he said. “It makes you appreciate what you’ve got and, who knows, I may need this service myself one day.”

Due to his wife’s involvement as the Ms. Senior Davidson County Queen, Beck has also played acoustic guitar at the Christmas carol sing-alongs in December at the five Senior Services nutrition sites around the county. He has also played at the statewide senior pageant.

At their home church, Grace Community, Beck plays bass and acoustic guitar in the praise band on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. He also plays bass with the Singing Cooleys, a local couple who sing gospel at nutrition sites and churches.

Every Monday night, Beck plays guitar and mandolin with the Train Wreck Gospel Band in the basement of Bethesda Methodist Church. He said the group is really more of an informal jam session of anywhere from six to 20 musicians but they sometimes have people drop by just to listen.

“We do some bluegrass gospel, Southern gospel, some old rock ‘n’ roll,” he said. “It kind of depends on who shows up.”

The musician said he recently took up playing the mandolin since some other members of the band play banjo and dobro for more of a bluegrass sound. He laughed and said he is learning the mandolin by watching YouTube videos.

Beck said his interest in music goes back to his late father, James Beck, who worked at Amazon Cotton Mills but also played in the Mill Hill Boys, a Thomasville band.

“He played to eat back during the Depression,” he noted.

Beck said he enjoys volunteering his time and musical talents to other seniors and churches. He also enjoys learning something new, like the mandolin, and the camaraderie of playing with fellow musicians.

“I do it because I like it,” he said. “If I had to do it for a living I wouldn’t get anything else done. I can put it down when I want to and I can pick it up when I want to.”

Since their retirement, the Becks, who have two grown children and two grandchildren, have also found some time to travel in addition to volunteering in the community. They have taken a number of bus trips up and down the East Coast and as far west as Memphis.

They also purchased a travel trailer and have been all over the state, from the Outer Banks to Asheville to the Cherokee area. A former Boy Scout and Scoutmaster, like his father and three brothers, Beck said he learned to appreciate the outdoors while growing up.

“My favorite place is anywhere in the mountains,” he noted.

Vikki Broughton Hodges may be contacted at vikkihodges@mac.com.

Article source: http://www.the-dispatch.com/entertainment/20171005/senior-shares-musical-talents

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