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By James Ensor
Hometown Weekly Reporter
On a balmy Friday afternoon, The Center at the Heights for the Needham Council on Aging played host to Ross Petot and his jazz band. The event was held for the annual ‘Friends Report and Meeting’ that takes place every July. The Friends are the fundraising branch of the Council on Aging, and Program Coordinator Joan DeFinis exclaimed: “We’ve grown so much this year that we decided to add some music!”
About 100 people gathered to listen to the band, and although it was a Council on Aging event, the audience crossed generational lines. Volunteers served strawberry shortcake to anyone with a sweet tooth; the cake went down as smoothly as the melody from the band.
Piano, clarinet and the drums could be heard from the lobby of the Center, and one could tell that this band had played together plenty of times before. Audience members tapped their feet to the tunes, grateful to exchange the heat and humidity outside for live entertainment in the air conditioning.
“I love events like this because they bring people together,” said one attendee, Alice, while she applauded after a song. The upbeat tunes were certainly doing that, and the Council on Aging in Needham has made it their business to bring people together almost every day.
With Petot on the piano, it would have been hard not to feel the rhythm. He is considered one of the best stride piano players in New England, and his skills were on full display during this sunny afternoon.
DeFinis further explained: “we have entertainment, fitness, wellness, and exercise classes 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.” Conveniently located next to the Needham Heights T station, the Center truly is at the center of town. True to its name, it is the center of activity for the Council on Aging.