A Japanese proverb suggests that we’re all fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.
But the dancers who faithfully step out to the music of RC Willey and the SunriderS at Aldersgate Enrichment Center don’t find anything foolish about it at all.
RC Willey, a retired Texas DPS trooper, and his wife, Rebecca, front the band — a “dance band,” RC is quick to point out — that has been entertaining area audiences for some 25 years.
After a long run at Travelers, RC and the SunriderS are now performing regularly for their fans at Aldersgate Enrichment Center on the Zephyr Highway. While dancers of all ages are welcome, attendance is primarily made up of senior citizens — with plenty of energy to spare.
“We really appreciate Aldersgate for letting us play there,” RC said. “It has been a blessing to us for these fine Christian people to let us hold dances. They called us and asked if we wanted to come.”
Dances are held on the first and third Monday nights each month, and if there happens to be a fifth Monday, the band is there as well.
“Some people ask me why I want to play for old people,” RC said with a chuckle. “I tell them I am an old people. Besides, I’m happy to be with a senior crowd. These were the leaders of the community yesterday. They aren’t on the backburner for us.”
A majority of the dancers attend the dances regularly, and over the years, band members have become close friends with the people who come out and dance to their music. They are so much like family, that it’s a grieving process when someone moves or, sometimes, passes away.
The traditional country music band has five members, and it was forced to reconfigure itself when it left its previous gig on Thursdays at Travelers. Two members also played with another group at a church, and Monday dances interfered with their rehearsals.
However, Willey said one original member of the band from 1992 was available to rejoin them, and RC said the band is fortunate those musicians were available.
“We’re definitely a dance band,” RC said. “It could be the most popular song ever, but if it’s not good to dance to, it’s not for us.”
The one song that seems to be most popular with those who attend the dances is “The Chair,” made famous by George Strait.
“It’s timeless, and appeals to young and old alike,” RC said. “It never fades away in popularity. One thing’s for sure, if we’re playing that, everyone is up on the dance floor.”
In previous years, it was not unusual to see RC Willey and the SunriderS being featured at some other dates in other cities, but he said more recently he’s decided to turn down quite a few requests.
“Most of them are on Saturday nights, and they start late and end late,” RC said. “It’s so difficult to travel somewhere and play, and then finish late and have to tear down and travel home, after midnight, and be at church on Sunday morning. I choose church over playing on Saturday night every time.”
RC does participate in various musicals in the area, however, backing up other musicians with his guitar and voice.
“I praise the Lord for opening so many doors to us, starting years ago,” RC said. “We have really been blessed.”