USO dance at Sewickley Valley YMCA evokes memories of bygone era
Dan Fryz said the big bands and the World War II generation were part of the greatest era in history.
Fryz, of Moon, who is in his mid 50s, said that's why he loves the idea of the USO dances at Sewickley Valley YMCA. He and his wife, Celeste — Y membership services specialist — enjoyed attending the first USO dance last year and plan to go to this year's event Saturday.
Fryz loved the big band music, which he said is kind of lost now but is still “terrific,” with “horns complementing everything.” He said it was great to see displays of the World War II uniforms, talk with older veterans and hear their stories.
“These guys were there, with the bombs exploding over their heads. It was great talking to them about their life's path and what they did when the got home,” he said.
“They came home and didn't complain. They went back to work and were able to adjust to normal living again. They were very strong people.”
Fryz said the people of that generation had a strong work ethic, which isn't as prevalent today.
“I don't think that era or that generation could ever be repeated. They were a rare breed of people.”
YMCA members who are ages 55 and older can attend the event for free, and nonmembers will pay $3.
“It's a great event. The atmosphere is wonderful. You can't beat the price for an evening out, and you get to hear stories and eat and dance,” he said.
Bruce Newell, 81, of Quaker Heights, attended the dance last year with friends from his Y water aerobics class. The Navy admiral who retired in 1984 said the event celebrates those people who served in the military.
“I and others who served felt very honored that night,” he said.
He said most of the music was slow and geared toward the age group, but there were some fast tunes to which “some of the people there could really cut the rug.”
Newell said he liked the music, to which he could waltz and do the cha-cha.
“The USO dance is just one of the wonderful things the Y does for senior citizens, and we really enjoy the fellowship,” he said.
Karen Hallisey, Y chief operating officer, said before planning the first event, she; Celeste Fryz; and Barb Herman, Y membership manager, were talking with a Coast Guard veteran about a trip to Washington.
“He mentioned how nice the old USO dances were, so we decided to give it a try,” she said.
About 60 participated last year, and the YMCAreceived sponsorships to pay for the costs for members and to keep them low for nonmembers.
“Everyone had so much fun and asked if we were going to do it again, so we started planning to offer it again in 2013.”
As of late last month, 50 already had registered. Participants are encouraged to dress up in World War II-era clothing. With help from sponsors, dinner and snacks will be served, and a Chinese auction will be featured. Military service branch items will be available for purchase.
Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sewickley Herald woman of year impacted many through leadership roles
- Ex-Ambridge police officer pleads guilty, gets probation
- McDonald’s Edgeworth plan raises concerns over safety
- Sewickley Herald Man of the Year’s reach goes beyond his official role
- PMT spotlight to shine on Sewickley Academy senior
- Quaker Valley schools chief to take close look at volunteer law
- Sewickley Hills road to close Monday