Messenger - Vol. 2, No. 3, Page 23
Summer 1993
Rockin' ELDERLY BROthers

     .WANTED: Tenor saxophone to play with middle-aged '50s vintage band.
Must be fun-loving and enjoy early rock 'n' roll. Call Jerry or Tom in the
English department....

     Not every day would you find two English scholars avidly seeking a sax
player. But Jerry Beasley and Tom Calhoun aren't your average English
professors. What they are is the Elderly Brothers-one of the hottest local
bands around, with a twist.
     The two don't play the head-banging music of today, or even the acid
rock of yesteryear. The profs play only oldies-like Elvis, The Crests and,
of course, the Everly Brothers. In fact, Delaware Today magazine named
Beasley and Calhoun the Best Oldies Duo around.
     The Elderly Brothers' "fame" came somewhat suddenly and was spread by
word of mouth, rather than promotion. Beasley and Calhoun met in the late
'60s, when they both joined the Department of English. They discovered that
they shared a love of the innocent sound of early rock 'n' roll, and the
rest, well, was history. Sort of.
     They began hamming it up together at the annual English Department
     "It was amateurish fun, but we wanted to polish it up," Calhoun says.
Word got out of their talent and people began calling.
     "We rarely have to hustle a job. They just call us," Beasley says.
     "Our name rings bells with a lot of retirement homes in the area, and
we often do shows for senior citizens," Calhoun adds.
     The Elderly Brothers say they really enjoy performing for seniors. And
funny things happen whenever they do.
     "The seniors become like geriatric teeny-boppers, dancing and singing
to songs of their kids' generation, songs they probably hated then,"
Beasley says.
     "One time," Calhoun recalls, "they started a Bunny Hop all around the
center, and it was led by a lady in a wheelchair!"
     Even though the two men perform under the name "Elderly Brothers,"
don't start offering them senior citizen discounts. They're only
     They bill themselves as "still teenagers in love." After speaking with
them for only a few moments, it's apparent that it's an apt description.
They are silly and intelligent, goofy and sincere and 100 percent in love
with their music.
     Calhoun remembers what it was like to grow up four decades ago.
     "It was a naive culture," he says, "full of heartfelt sincerity. The
lyrics were straightforward and expressed people's feelings. They weren't
socially and politically oriented like those of today. Teens were obsessed
with love and their steadies. It was a time of innocence."
     Beasley adds, "We just haven't gotten over it yet-being teenagers in
love. So, we're going to exploit it. It's an inherent joke. We're guys in
our 50s, singing about what it is like to be a teenager in love."
     The music allows them to take a break from the seriousness of
academia, they say. Most of all, it provides a chance to relax and laugh at
themselves. They practice two or three times a week. Between academics and
practicing, not much free time is left. That's okay, they add, because
practicing music is how they would want to spend the time anyway.
     The idea of the First Annual Farewell Concert was conceived last year,
when they became more ambitious about their music, Beasley says. It was a
benefit performance, with all proceeds going to the Emmaus House, a local
center for the homeless.
     The first annual Farewell Concert last year was such a huge
success-standing room only-and such a good time, they decided to do it
     "Last year," Calhoun remembers, "a group of teens burst into the
concert, parading around with signs that read, 'Elvis is dead!' and 'Long
live the Elderly!'"
     Beasley interjects, "One of them was my daughter!"
     The Elderlys are always sure to play a few hits from their idols, the
Everly Brothers. Other songs range from Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel" to
"Runaround Sue" by Dion and the Belmonts.
                                   -Jenni Collins, Delaware '93