The Oktoberfest Oompah Band sang, played, smiled, danced and serenaded Good Samaritan Society residents all while decked out in Bavarian costumes for its performance Tuesday morning at Good Sam’s residential care facility in Brookings.
The Oktoberfest Oompah Band performs at Good Samaritan Society Curry Village dining room in Brookings Tuesday morning. The Pilot/Lorna Rodriguez
“We bring the entertainment to them,” tuba player Doren Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal is referring to band members volunteering at the different hospitals, senior centers and retirement communities in the area. This year, the band has seven Oktoberfest presentations, band coach and member Carl Rovainen said.
“I do it as a volunteer,” Rosenthal said. “I enjoy playing music. I play music for my own enjoyment, and I volunteer as does everyone in the group. If we didn’t do it, they’d have televisions and they have plenty of televisions. So this is a live performance with real musicians. We do it for fun.”
Two residents of Good Sam Society also enjoy the band’s performances.
“It’s something to do that gives us a little entertainment,” resident Albert Lepley.
Resident Bonnie Thomas agrees.
“I think they’re very nice,” she said. “They’re just very cheerful. They come regularly, and they’re very uplifting.”
The group is comprised of 15 local musicians who sing and/or play the accordion, bouzouki, flute, guitar, hammered dulcimer, recorder, tuba and violin. The musicians volunteer their time year round.
Band members rotate in and out, and perform when they can, Rosenthal said. The group rehearses once a week.
The group’s goal is “to have a good time, and to share it with others,” Rosenthal said.
He said the band members enjoy getting together to rehearse.
The band was started three or four years ago by Rovainen. He said he was inspired by Brookings residents Horst and Leslie Wolf’s appreciation of German culture.
In addition to playing oompah music, the group, which is known as the Boondock Band or Carl Ravainen and friends, the rest of the year, also plays Sousa marches for the Fourth of July, holiday music during the holiday season and folk music.
“I like playing music, and I love the camaraderie with the other musicians, and I especially like the reaction of the people we play for,” Rosenthal said. “It’s a very satisfying experience to be playing in the hospitals. As a volunteer, you get more out of it then you put in.”