By Karen Huber
Much to the delight of everyone attending, the West Fargo Civic Seniors Club held their holiday get-together Dec. 18 at the West Fargo VFW, enjoying a wonderful meal with The Depot Singers providing the musical entertainment, followed by an afternoon of card playing and camaraderie.
In existence since 1985, the nonprofit 501c3 group meets every Wednesday afternoon at the VFW to play either pinochle or whist. Many have been playing since the beginning, but the group is always looking for new members. “The more the merrier, we always have a good time,” longtime member Eleanor DeTienne stated.
Gladys A. Johnson serves as club president; Betty Bohn is vice president; Carol Koesterman, secretary; and Mary Sinner, treasurer.
Those participating say they “really enjoy the group.” According to members Darlyne and Richard Aamot, “We all have a good time, it’s a lot of fun and we are always looking for more people to join in.”
Play starts at 1 p.m. and continues until 3, followed by coffee and a sweet treat. An average Wednesday would see 6 to 7 tables of pinochle and 4 whist tables.
“It’s always a nice, fun group,” Agnes Rieniets reiterated. “We also want to say thank you to the VFW for letting us use the clubrooms to meet every Wednesday. They never charge us and are always very welcoming.”
The club is also appreciative to the many local businesses that provided donations for the holiday envelopes. They include: Applebee’s, Bison Turf, Cashwise, Don’s Car Wash, Doolittle’s, Fargo Theatre, Ground Round, High Plains Reader, John Alexander’s, Lone Star, Mom’s Kitchen, Old Chicago, Olive Garden, Perkins, Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday Sandy’s Donuts, Spicy Pie, Sunmart, TNT Restaurant, Target, Walmart, Wendy’s and the West Fargo Pioneer.
They also were looking forward to the musical performance by The Depot Singers, which was started by Joni Miller.
As a little bit of history, before moving to the FM area, Miller had played at piano bars in the Twin Cities which often turned into sing-alongs. After moving to Moorhead, she started playing for nursing homes, assisted living homes, retirement locations, veteran’s hospitals-homes, and other venues.
Performing as a solo act at the Fargo Theatre in 2002, she was joined in a second playing of “Over the Rainbow” by singers Gene and Marilyn Lenzmeier of Moorhead, as well as a few other people joining her around the piano.
Miller told them that they needed to join her when she entertained. They did and as the group evolved, named themselves The Depot Singers after the location where it all began.
In 2010, Kathleen Creighton became director, developing 12 monthly programs and including bits of history about the musical selections. Special requests, like the U.S.O. show keep the endeavor interesting. Dancers are also part of the plan. Members Joyce and Ed Westfall teach ballroom dancing in the area. Overall the group makes an average of ten appearances a month.
Since its beginning, the group has lost and gained members, which now include: Joni Miller, Gene and Marilyn Lenzmeier, Ed and Joyce Westfall, Moorhead, Joanne Cahill, Carol Tschakert, Bob and Christine Zaeske, all of Fargo, and Joan Anderson and Bob and Kathleen Creighton, all West Fargo.
Previous members have also included: Maurice Duval, Phyllis Sjothun and the late Lloyd Gerdes.
Anyone interested in joining the West Fargo Civic Seniors is welcome and encouraged to stop by the West Fargo VFW, 308 Sheyenne St., any Wednesday afternoon to become a part of the fun and activity.
By Karen Huber