Keen on the retirees

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Retirees have all the fun.

At least they do at the monthly Keenagers group at Sequim Community Church.

Every third Friday, 100-150 retirees — Keenagers — meet for an entertaining evening of music, food and fun.

“It’s good food, entertainment and fellowship,” said Betty Mrkvicka, Keenagers co-founder.
“I never miss it.”

Mrkvicka said they started it to meet a need for retirement-age people to come together.

“It’s a family and we get to meet new people, too,” said attendee Carolyn Hawley.

One attendee said she’s not quite old enough to be a Keenager but she comes because the group geared toward her age doesn’t have as many activities.

Bill and Lynnette Baughman, Keenagers coordinators, said they enjoy the good mix of friendly people.

“One of the nice things is that everyone doesn’t go around bragging,” Lynnette Baughman said.
“We have a lot of life experiences in the group and everyone is welcoming and it doesn’t matter who you sit next to. It could be a former farmer, teacher or musician.”

Dinner manners
For eight months, people can enjoy Keenagers’ offerings for free.

Events don’t happen June-August and December because of conflicts.

Food usually is potluck-style; one meal is catered.

More than 12 volunteers run the activities, with more helpers always welcomed.

Baughman said she and her husband do it for the food and the entertainment, but that it’s a needed resource.

“People are really glad to have this available,” she said.

Dave and Barbara Brubaker have coordinated entertainment for Keenagers for four years.

They try to book mostly local acts such as student jazz groups and adult ensembles, fiddlers, storytellers, big bands, dancers and more.

“We want to see the expressions on people’s faces when they enjoy it,” Dave Brubaker said.

Each time, a donation basket is passed around for acts such as Sequim High School Jazz Band so that they can travel to special events.

April 16, Olympic Dixielanders, nine student musicians from Sequim and Port Angeles, performs. 

They are sponsored by Jazz in the Olympics Society and have performed a number of times for Keenagers, with offerings used for scholarships to jazz camp Heebie Jeebie.

Olympic Express Big Band performs May 21.

Past performances include:
• Erma and Mike Kuenzli (Hawaiian music)
• Washington Old Time Fiddlers
• Peninsula Men’s Gospel Singers
• Sweet Adelines
• Sequim City Band
• Jazz trio featuring vocalist Sarah Shea
• The Dukes of Dabob
• Country Gold

Reservations are required so organizers can ensure seating and food for everyone. Travel assistance is available.

Call Sequim Community Church at 683-4194 to RSVP or with questions.

Reach Matthew Nash at

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