They are a spirited group of musicians who have delighted people throughout Mississippi for a quarter of a century. But now they are on their “retirement tour” so to speak.
They have never charged a fee to perform and have left their audiences laughing about the inevitably of growing older.
“We’re too old to cut the mustard anymore.”
They practice once a week to keep from getting rusty. Even though they perform all the time, they don’t dare do a performance without a rehearsal. But when they get on stage in full costume, they shine! They are the Ragger Roos Comedy Washtub Band.
The band is based in Raymond. Their act is built around making fun of aging. But being a member of the band seems to have kept this group of ladies FROM aging.
Maxine Nolen is keyboard player and spokesperson for the group.
“I’m the youngest at 66," said Maxine. "My oldest one is 89 and a half. “
The only thing the years have done to this group is slowed the girls down to a sensible pace. They used to do four or five performances a month. Maxine adds,
“Liked to have worked us to death. And we discovered we couldn’t keep up that pace," added Maxine. "So we limit ourselves to two a month now. And we stay booked up.”
And why shouldn’t they stay booked up? They’re fun; the way they dress, the way they play; a scrub board rhythm section, and an assortment of other instruments, including oldest member, Mickey Bearden’s mastery of the harmonica, violin, and a personal favorite of mine, the handsaw.
“Our program is built about the aches and pains of getting old. And we speak from experience because we have ‘em, too," added Maxine. "And you can’t get around them so you might as well laugh about them.”
And it is said that laughter is the best medicine.
“We call it our ministry of laughter,” said Maxine.
Since we’re all aging, anyway, why not enjoy it? And take on the attitude of aging that the Rageroos have taken. Laugh at yourself. Because there’s no telling how many OTHERS are already doing so!
The Ragger Roos final public performances are next Tuesday at 11:30 at Utica Baptist Church and then Tuesday the 24 at 1st Baptist Church of Purvis.
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