One of the best-kept secrets in the southwest suburbs is a weekly dance at the Marjorie Stewart Community/Senior Center in Sherwood that features the upbeat Prime Time band, refreshments, friendly people and an all-around good time for only $5.
This is not an event just for Sherwood residents as the "regulars" come from King City, Tigard, Lake Oswego, Garden Home and other areas.
Dances are held every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., and at a recent dance, some of the participants stopped dancing briefly to share why they look forward to the weekly event in between kicking up their heels on the dance floor.
The "ringleaders" are Brigitte and Rolf Hoehna, who started a dance at the senior center years ago when they lived in Sherwood. Brigitte, who is a former Arthur Murray teacher, and Rolf now live in Royal Villas and worked with the senior center three years ago to start up a new dance program because the first one was so popular.
The Hoehnas have gone dancing wherever they could find venues in the local area, including King City and the Elsie Stuhr Center in Beaverton. In fact, that is where Brigitte heard the Prime Time band play and asked the group to play in Sherwood.
Everyone is enthusiastic about coming to the dances, including Ron Bonneau, who lives in Royal Villas and said that he has been coming for six months "at least."
He added, "It's a great group. I don't see how you could do better. There's a nice band, and it's only $5. It's the best $5 I ever spent. We just love it and come every Wednesday."
Delpha Reiboldt, who also lives in Royal Villas, has been coming to the dances since the beginning.
"I never danced before, and Brigitte taught me," she said. "After my husband died, someone said I should do something new that I had not done with my husband. He didn't want to dance, and I thought I would take up a new activity like art, but I have really enjoyed this."
Delpha also plays the violin and sometimes brings it along to play with the band.
Brigitte, sitting nearby, said, "She's 90, and she's doing wonderfully."
Denise Lenc of Garden Home has been coming to the dances since they started, adding, "I knew Brigitte, and my husband Richard loves to dance."
Charlyne and George Binabese are originally from Hawaii and have lived in Tigard for 20 years. They credit the Hoehnas for getting them involved in dancing.
"We try to come every week – we have a good time, and it's such a good group," Charlyne said, and George added, "It's a form of exercise, and we're benefitting from it."
Rolf explained, "The men dance with all the women, and the ladies feel comfortable dancing alone or with each other, or you can just sit and talk. Everyone talks to everyone else, and new people are welcome."
As they were talking, Brigitte called out to the band, "You haven't played a cha cha yet," which the band immediately started playing.
Patricia Billings, who comes to the dances from Lake Oswego, said, "This is the best place to go on Wednesday afternoons. I love to dance even when I'm solo. I hear music, and I start dancing."
The Prime Time band includes Charles Guerin on the piano, Rick Campbell on the tenor sax, Highlands resident Jack Dawes on drums and Larry Burnett on bass. Also, the musicians and dancers are thrilled when Patty George drives over from Toledo to sing with the band.
Guerin also plays with the 18-piece Pranksters Big Band, and people can visit prankstersbigband.net or call Guerin at 503-591-5515 for more information and bookings for the Pranksters or Prime Time bands.
The Marjorie Stewart Community/Senior Center is located at 21907 S.W. Sherwood Blvd.; for more information, call 503-625-5644.