NEWBURY - It's 11 a.m. and the joint is jumpin'.
In the audience, there's a one-woman kickline, two friends swaying with their arms around each other's shoulders singing a familiar song, lots of toes tapping, a couple holding hands and a man whose smile just won't quit.
It's not a nightclub or a honky-tonk, it's the first gathering of a group of seniors at St. Helen Catholic Church in Newbury. Bob D'Aurelio said his new and developing show, ''Bob's Senior Cabaret,'' seemed like a good way to kick things off.
Bob D’Aurelio, 68, performs his show, “Bob’s Senior Cabaret,” recently at St. Helen Catholic Church in Newbury. D’Aurelio is hoping to expand his performances to other senior groups in the area, including those in Trumbull County. D’Aurelio’s show includes music that seniors might not be able to find easily on the radio these days.
"The official definition of a cabaret is nighttime club performance," D'Aurelio said. "The 'senior' changes it a little."
Before the performance, D'Aurelio's wife, Eileen, welcomed the group and gave her husband a heavenly review.
"Bob is here because God has blessed him with a voice," she said.
A sampling of songs in Bob's Senior Cabaret
"Give My Regards to Broadway," 1904
"Good Night Irene," 1950
"White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation," 1957
"Back in the Saddle Again," 1939
"Razzle Dazzle," 1975
Bob D'Aurelio is hoping to share his program with other senior groups in the area, including those in Trumbull County.
"We, as seniors, when we turn on the radio, we gotta really go looking for music we know," the 68-year-old told his audience.
From there, he opened with "Give My Regards to Broadway." Whether playing his guitar or singing to recorded accompaniment, D'Aurelio uses the time to tell the history of the music and its writers. That song, for example, came about in 1904 with the musical "Little Johnny Jones" by George M. Cohan.
The audience members were almost all singing along to "Good Night Irene" and the 1957 hit "White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation."
D'Aurelio is a salesman part-time for NSL Analytical, but his life has clearly been surrounded by music and faith.
His father was a high school band director, having founded the band at Canton Central Catholic and also having served as a choir director until having a heart attack.
"He literally died in his choir loft," D'Aurelio said.
D'Aurelio himself also has sung in or directed choirs for different parishes. He started the one at St. Helen, an ensemble that grew from nothing to 44 people under his leadership.
It's only been a couple years since he retired from the New Celebration Singers, a nondenominational group that he founded, directed and performed that had about 65 voices.
"In our 15 years of existence, we generated some $50,000 for charities," he said.
This father and grandfather is involved in the Catholic Men's Fellowship of Northeast Ohio, and he puts together a "Paul's Men Podcast."
He remembers going camping at a younger age.
"I would bring my guitar, and we would sit around the campfire and sing these songs," he said. "People from other campsites would come."
Those other campers, who brought beverages with their singing voices and listening ears, once numbered to 100.
And speaking of a campfire, D'Aurelio has a love for cowboy songs. During his recent performance, he donned a leather vest and a cowboy hat.
"You gotta wear special clothes when you do it, or it just won't work," he said, adding, "I feel like an old Marlboro man."
He offered Gene Autry's "Back in the Saddle Again."
D'Aurelio also has developed a somewhat unusual skill - yodeling.
"I did a show as a trial at a senior center in Sun City, Ariz., and I was ad-libbing a lot," he said. "I did yodel, and all of a sudden they broke out in applause."
True for the northeast Ohio crowd at St. Helen's, as well, as D'Aurelio sang the "Cannonball Yodel," using his guitar to paint a picture with sound of a train, gaining speed with each verse. He also says memorizing a yodel is easier for him than memorizing words to a song.
D'Aurelio may like the cowboy songs, but he prefers cars as his mode of transportation.
"The reason I don't want to ride a horse is they think," he said.
His theory of how a horse decided to teach a cowboy how to yodel is a funny one, although the men in the audience were laughing a little less than the ladies at the thought of it.
D'Aurelio doesn't do much sitting still, during his performance or otherwise. He enjoys flower gardening and is an avid cyclist. He recently met a Tribune Chronicle editor while taking a break on the bike path - D'Aurelio said he didn't plan his electrolytes well and was running out of gas near the end of this particular 80-mile trek.
Yes, 80 miles. He trains to ride in the Bike MS Pedal to the Point sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
D'Aurelio said if hadn't have been a choir director, he probably would spent time in Broadway shows at the local level.
His favorite show is "Chicago," so he completed his recent set with a little "Razzle Dazzle."