Contestants line up for judging at the Tie-Dye Dance Party at Center 50+ on June 14. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

If you grew up watching “Sonny and Cher” and listening to the Bee Gees, you’d feel right at home at the Tie-Dye Dance Party at Center 50+.

Sponsored by Bonaventure and the Friends of the Salem Senior Center, the event on Friday, June 14, gave center members and friends a chance to let loose and try to remember some of their disco dance moves of the ‘70s.

I joined Executive Director Marilyn Daily Blair at her table full of enthusiastic friends and board members including Lori Holcomb, Evelyn Ostermann and Mary Quinn.

Kaleidoscope lights flashed while singer Marissa Pena from The Big Time band of Salem, belted out “I Will Survive” and Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes-Benz.” The popular band, with Melissa Potts on keyboard, Harlan Severson on guitar, Joaquin Rodriguez on drums and Terry Schneider on bass, play many local venues.

Some dancers had taken lessons at the center and really knew their stuff. Most could recreate the “hip and point move” that made Tony Manero famous in “Saturday Night Fever.” Sadly, no one could remember how to do “The Hustle,” even though we did it every day at Judson Junior High (now Judson Middle School).

Guests were quizzed on 1970s trivia such as naming the castaways on “Gilligan’s Island” and the name of “The Jetsons’” robot.

Among the popular volunteers at the event were Jan Allbery and Linda Schellenberg – they were tending bar.  Allbery volunteers at the center’s front desk and the trip desk.

Center 50+ has an active travel program that offers group trips for adults to places across Oregon and throughout the country. They are even going to Switzerland!  Schellenberg serves on the center’s board, works in respite care, helps with the friendly caller program that checks on homebound seniors and volunteers for the ACT Program (Awesome Community Team).

If you no longer have your tie-dye shirt of 40 years ago, you could buy one in the lobby from Toni Kuchar. Toni, the former owner of South Beach Gallery and Glass Blowing Studio, was the first woman oven operator at Oregon Glass. She creates shirts using a technique she calls ice dying and teaches it at the center.

Kuchar’s story is an inspiring one. Eight years ago, she was in a devastating car crash that left her brain oxygen deprived. After many difficult years, she received successful treatment and neuromuscular therapy at Salem Health and has regained most of her mobility and cognitive ability. She has a great enthusiasm for life and is hoping to return to working with fused glass.

Kimberly Brown was making sure that no one missed a thing by videotaping the entire party. She is part of the Center 50+ video production class, a partnership with Capital Community Television (CCTV).

Besides such classes, the center has a woodworking shop, fitness center and café.

The Center is located at 2615 Portland Rd. N.E. and one of the city’s many partnerships with the nonprofit friendsofcenter50plus.com which raises approximately 60 percent of the funding through programs and donations. There is no cost to visit and nominal fees for classes and tours. To learn more visit www.cityofsalem.net/seniors or call 503-588-6303.

Programs of interest:

·         Fit-50+ Health and Wellness Center

·         Home Help Through Center 50+

·         Increase Your Skills with Center 50+ Classes

·         Learn Computers at Tech 50+

·         Meals on Wheels

·         Rent a Center 50+ Meeting Room

·         Respite Care Program at Center 50+

·         Travel with Center 50+

Dancers test out their '70s moves at the Tie-Dye Dance Party at Center 50+ on June 14. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Toni Kuchar sells shirts at the Tie-Dye Dance Party at Center 50+ on June 14. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Lori Holcomb, Evelyn Ostermann, Mary Quinn and Marilyn Daily Blair attend the Tie-Dye Dance Party at Center 50+ on June 14. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Jan Allbery and Linda Schellenberg attend the Tie-Dye Dance Party at Center 50+ on June 14. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Kimberly Brown films the Tie-Dye Dance Party at Center 50+ on June 14. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing a regular column for Salem Reporter. Tell her about your upcoming event at mlvg@prsalem.com. Follow: https://www.facebook.com/Out-and-About-with-Mary-Louise-VanNatta-646148848755085/

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