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Library jam session keeps visitors hoppin'

Paul Gatto of Farmingdale, 81, plays with his

Paul Gatto of Farmingdale, 81, plays with his oldies band at the Farmingdale Public Library once a week for the residents. (June 16, 2011) Credit: Frank Posillico

Josephine Candela never misses her Thursday morning visit to the Farmingdale Public Library.

But Candela, 95, isn’t there for the books. She comes to dance the day away to Paul Gatto and his oldies band.

Farmingdale’s Candela has been coming ever since Gatto’s band showed up five years ago, and she has no plans to end the tradition.

“I love it here, I love it, we are here every week,” she said. “I sit and enjoy the music [and the] dancing.”

The jam session started after the library allowed the band to use its facilities for practice space. The suggestion was made to play for the public, and Gatto, 81, and his mates have built a fan base ever since.

Bob Junge, John Finelli, Richie Bordonaro and Neil Ferrarra round out the group, although Gatto welcomes others to sit in and play. He brings together retired musicians who want to keep a bit of the old world music alive.

“They really enjoy it,” Gatto said of the crowd that shows up each week to hear tunes primarily from the ’30 and ’40s. “And not only do people listen and dance, but there must be at least 10 people who get up and sing. They even look for billing.”

The audience has turned into a small society that comes each week and goes out to lunch after. The band recently started playing at the Bethpage Public Library and hopes to build the same following there. They’ll be there next on June 28 at 11 a.m.

“I think there is a need for the old standards,” Gatto said. “I think it will always be around, and I think we are helping that.”

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