On his 100th birthday, Dec. 18, 2019, Jack Vellutini shared with Trail Times readers that his love for music is his secret to living a long and happy life.
Jack’s message is unchanged as his 101st birthday nears, except this year he’s gone one further by picking up his cherished instrument of note, a trombone, for the first time in awhile.
He was spirited by a photo of The Serenaders, circa 1936, that the Trail Times published on Oct. 6.
The photo of this orchestra referenced that Jack was the only surviving member from the original ensemble, and that he is now living in Poplar Ridge Pavilion.
Inspired by that article, activity program staff at Poplar Ridge were able to borrow a trombone for Jack, who had continued to play off-and-on up until his 98th year.
Jack said this week, “just to hold it,” (trombone) was a joy.
“The chops were a bit rusty, but the memories were golden,” Jennifer Sirges, activity program worker, explained.
“The trombone was on loan from the Trail After School Band Program, courtesy of Terry Moon. Terry has great esteem for Jack, who was his musical mentor in the 1960’s.”
Although visitors remain limited at Poplar Ridge due to the coronavirus pandemic, warm greetings were exchanged remotely between the two musicians.
“Jack’s musical legacy continues,” said Sirges. “As it is now Terry’s turn to mentor upcoming musicians through the After School Band.”
Jack gave his own instruments away a number of years ago, but he didn’t want any money for them, he was simply passing along his legacy.
The one instrument he’ll hold onto forever, however, is his voice.
For decades Jack’s classic vocals headlined for local bands who played many an evening soirées, which back in the day, always drew a full house of fans dressed to the nines and ready to cut a rug.
That’s why he is endearingly known to so many in Trail as the “Serenader of Song.”