Eight years ago the Tipton community organized a music night consisting of food, fellowship and music.
Every first Monday of the month sounds of hands clapping, people laughing, and the instrumental sounds of harmonicas, guitars, fiddles, banjos, piano playing, and singing is heard coming from the Tipton Senior Citizen Center at 101 E. Main St. in Tipton.
The first master of ceremonies was Walter Hoehne, a resident of Tipton, and Bill Jones of Lonewolf currently leads the fun. A band of 10 talented volunteer musicians from area towns jam out and even accompany the individuals brave enough to sing. A top priority is allowing every singer and musician an opportunity to show off talent and shine.
People travel from Lonewolf, Altus, Frederick, Grandfield and other areas in Southwest Oklahoma and North Texas to the small rural town of Tipton, a population of 813. The seniors charge a $6 entry fee to cover the meal, which is a hamburger with onions, homemade desserts and a drink to wash it all down. A few years back the seniors received a government grant to help with the building’s roofing repairs and there have been donations.
“Bill is known as the music man, because he loves music, and he also can whistle many songs,” wife Sharon Johns said.
The couple plays a huge role in making sure that every music night is a success.
“There isn’t too many social activities in Tipton, so all of our volunteers do our very best to stick to the schedule,” she said. “We start at 5 p.m. with the meal, then continue with the band for a while, and end with the individual musicians and singers, and we still get everyone home by dark,”.
Bill Johns adds to the entertainment by whistling entire songs — a unique talent.
“I picked up whistling by watching my older brother whistle,” he said.
In 2003, he entered the Oklahoma State Whistling Contest held in Jenks. The rules stated that all competitors must whistle two complete songs and were judged accordingly. Out of the three participating whistlers, he won the title of champion Oklahoma State Whistler, along with a certificate and $25 .
The next Tipton community music night is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday. For more information call Johns at 580-471-2825.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.