No one could have known how a simple mandolin could spark a conversation that would develop into a decade long musical adventure.
It all started when Robert Davis retired from his job with Pennsylvania Mutual Life Insurance in Pennsylvania and moved near family – right across the street from Denny Conley in Warsaw. Denny spied a mandolin Robert carried into the house and, being a music lover, promptly invited him over to play music.
It became a daily event for the two and soon, Robert invited his brother, John Davis, to join them. The trio made it a regular Thursday night event and, not long after, John invited George and Waunita Young to join in.
With the growing group, friends and family began gathering to enjoy listening. Those with musical talents continued to join and the group enlarged and strengthened.
But when Conley and his wife, Marge, migrated with the snow birds to Florida for the winter, the group was left with nowhere to practice. Not wanting to lose their momentum and bonding through music, John Davis arranged for a place in the Grace Village dining room for the group to play every week.
The group was allowed to keep their microphones and equipment at Grace Village and return each Thursday night for jam sessions. Not only was the group of friends doing what they love, the residents of Grace Village were being treated to some unexpected entertainment.
The musicians grew to as many as 15 members each bringing their talents through guitar, mandolin, base, banjo, violin, steel, piano and even vocals. They take turns during each one hour jam session picking the songs they want to play. There is no rehearsal, it’s just a weekly jam session.
Each week’s jam session includes a variety of country, gospel and old time favorites. It has become a performance driven jam for musicians by invitation only, but is attended each week by regular listeners from Grace Village, their family and friends, and even residents of surrounding communities. Each week, 70 to 150 people attend the jam session. Occasionally a featured person or group is invited to take part in the jam for an added variety.
A celebration is in motion for Thursday, Oct. 10, which marks 10 years of committed, voluntary performance by this very unique group. Old friends and the public are welcome to visit in the Grace Village dining room, starting at 6 p.m., and enjoy the jam afterward, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.