Golden Tone Orchestra moves from Freeport to Merrick
The Golden Tone Orchestra -- a band of senior citizens that has played jazz and swing standards in Nassau County for more than four decades -- has relocated its performance space after Freeport village officials asked them to move.
The 18-piece orchestra, whose members range in age from 65 to 94, performed at the Freeport Recreation Center on the first Wednesday of every month for about 10 years. But the group's next performance will take place at the Merrick Golf Course, said Sid Hausen, 81, the orchestra's treasurer.
Freeport officials have decided to turn the lounge the orchestra had been using into an exercise room, Hausen and village officials said.
The village offered the orchestra other recreation center spaces, but none had sufficient room, Hausen said. The group has reached an agreement with Hempstead Town to use a room at the golf course, Hausen and town officials said.
Freeport "offered us the lobby. People are not going to dance on a concrete floor," Hausen said. "I said, 'We have to have a permanent place.' "
Barbara Hausen, 76, a vocalist with the group and Sid Hausen's wife, said the Merrick space will have plenty of room for patrons with walkers and wheelchairs -- an important feature for the Golden Tone Orchestra's following.
Freeport officials worked with the orchestra to find a different space, but couldn't reach an agreement, Sophia Johnson, a village spokeswoman, said. The village "was fortunate to support the dances held by the Golden Tone Orchestra," Johnson said.
The orchestra, which has members from Nassau, Suffolk and Queens, has existed more than 40 years and practiced at Nickerson Beach in Lido Beach for most of that time, Hausen said. The group receives its rehearsal and performance spaces for free and survives on donations, he said.
Hempstead "is pleased to welcome the Golden Tone Orchestra" to its Merrick Golf Course, Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement, adding that the group "will enhance the cultural presentations" offered by the town.
Herb Deutsch, 81, a professor emeritus of music at Hofstra University, plays trumpet with the Golden Tone Orchestra and said he looks forward to the move to Merrick.
Deutsch, a Massapequa Park resident and co-inventor of the Moog synthesizer, said the new facility will give the orchestra's members a new place to share their music with another segment of the public.
"This is a band made up almost entirely of retired musicians," Deutsch said. "It's an opportunity to do what you love, and that's what it's all about."