Friday Nights have not been the same since the Friday Nighters Dance Club was formed. With plenty of dancing music, people like Allen Davis and Barbara Robinson have a place to go every month to try out those dance steps.
This past Friday night was a special evening for this group; it celebrated its 60th anniversary with a dance party at the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church attended by 110 people. Music was provided by “The Family,” a group who has played at these events for almost 10 years. The trio was founded by Jasper Napoli, but is now comprised of Frank Cocuzzi on the drums, Larry Kopp on the clarinet, and Alex Smith on the keyboard years. Napoli has retired and came to the dance as a guest with his wife, Adriana.
Other special guests included former members: Betty and Lou Caporaletti, Betty Johnson, Dottie and Joe Ryan, Carolin and Littlejohn Schebish, Jo Ann and Jim Seeley, Shirley Sherman and Tony Bisselle, Wilma and Eligius Wolicki, Olga and Richard Wright, and Peggy Wright and Bryan Duffy.
During intermission, Anya Lorenzo and Anthony Brice dazzled guests with their footwork as did Yana Blinov and Krasi Petrov.
Lorenzo and Brice have been dancing together for four years since they met as students at Lioudmila Dance Studio. Blinov and Petrov teach and practice at Lioudmila Dance Studio.
BILL AND LOIS GAY have been part of the club for the past six years. Lois Gay said that she gave Bill a gift certificate for dance classes and once they finished they wanted a place where they could practice their dancing. They found it in the Friday Nighters Dance Club. They also enjoy meeting other people.
“It’s really a conglomeration of people,” said Lois Gay.
“It gets to be a close-knit group,” said Davis, who has helped to coordinate the dances for the past few years.
Shirley Burgett loves the new location and said, “Now that we’ve moved, it’s so nice.”
The group has been in this new location for the past few years; it’s a much larger space than their prior location. Over the years, the group has met in several different places; one of which had a habit of getting flooded. Members had to drive through water to get to the clubhouse and sometimes had to sweep water out of the hall before the dance.
Membership over the years has risen and fallen, with the greatest decrease coming after 9-11. Davis is pleased to see that the membership has improved dramatically over the last year and reports that they now have almost 100 members.
“The music is fantastic — we’ve known the guys in the band for years and they’re really good,” said Joe Murphy, who has been a member with his wife, Helen, for the past 46 years.
“A lot of people came back for this event — they enjoy the music and the friendship,” Murphy said. “We’re glad to have this place — it’s a thousand times better. It’s a lot less dangerous and the dance floor is five times bigger.”