Kazoos Keep Seniors 'Young at Heart'

The kazoo may not be among the most respected of musical instruments, but it's certainly among the most popular, at least as far as skill as concerned. Anyone can pick up and play the kazoo, from the youngest toddler to the oldest senior. And a group of senior citizens is out to prove just that. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson has more on the 'Young at Heart' kazoo band.

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Louie DeCrescente is a founding member of the Young at Heart Kazoo Band. Although perhaps the idea of founding the band is a little misleading.

"I don't know, we started accidentally I would say. We got together somehow, I don't know really, it's quite a while. It's great though." [Reporter] Do y'all get together and practice? "Oh yes. We're all together at practice. I don't think I've ever missed one, have I?"

That's five years of being in the band and Louie hasn't missed one practice. Oh, and as a side note, Louie's birthday is on Sunday. He'll be 99. He refers to some of the other residents as old-timers and acts as the cut-up and a bit of a flirt. The Young at Heart Kazoo Band is comprised of 18 senior citizens who live in the Hampton at Tanglewood Assisted Living Residence. They perform for various groups and have even taken their act to Houston City Hall to play for the mayor. Corrine Secrest is also one of the original members of the group. She and Louie are co-horts.

"When we started the kazoo band, Louie and I had had breakfast together at the same table for...all the time. And so if I thought that Louie was going to have some fun, I wanted to have fun too. So from then on it has been all...uphill." [Laughter]

Corrine definitely sees the humor in being a member of a kazoo band. It's not about musical ability or performance. She says their motto is 'if we are having fun, the audience is having fun.'

"The one that I really enjoyed I think the most was when we went to the Texas Children's Hospital and we played at the doors of the little children that were too sick to come outside and they seemed to love it. They would just come to the door and smile and be so happy."

The Young at Heart Kazoo Band can be heard all over the Houston area at venues from Lakewood Church to the Houston Aeros. And the group had the opportunity to record a CD earlier this year, which will be released on Sunday in honor of Louie DeCrescente's 99th birthday. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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