Uptown Strings back for 48th year of senior adult dances at Admiral Coontz

PaulQuillingEdDyeDickSwainBettyParsonsMiller copy

From left, Paul Quilling, Ed Dye and Dick Swain, with Betty Parsons Miller in front.

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Senior adult dances have been held at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center for 48 years, and though the names have changed, both for the band and the members, the Uptown Strings have performed the entire time.

A carry-in and special celebration is planned for Sept. 28 to celebrate the 48th year of performing. Senior adult dances are from noon to 3 p.m. every Wednesday at the Admiral Coontz Recreation Center.

Betty Parsons Miller has been playing for the entire 48 years, but the name of the band has changed.

“We started out as the Forget-Me-Nots because we played for the Forget-Me-Not Club in New London,” she said.

The band was also called Deep River and The Misfits until a former band member, Al Swigert, suggested Uptown Strings. Ed Dye organized the group to play at senior adult dances. The first band consisted of Miller, Ed Dye, Dick Swain and Paul Quilling.

Over the years, the group has played Big Band music, jazz and country and have played with a variety of instruments, such as fiddles, saxophone, trumpet, tuba, bass guitar, rhythm guitar and drums, which Miller plays.

Miller said she was still raising five children when she began playing with the community band. Her children also became musicians. Jim played the trombone; Sherry played clarinet, sax and oboe; Debra played clarinet and sax; Karen played clarinet and Steve played trumpet.

She said her children surprised her with a recent Christmas by playing a carol.

The band for the senior dances now consists of Martin and Betty Miller, Harlon Lain, Wendell Glance and Greg Cornelius. Special guests often join the band. Miller is the only original member still with the band.

The Uptown Springs play during a previous adult senior dance.

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