GALVA — A pair of local musicians take pride in their band’s name — it reflects both their music and their ages.
Hazel Zink and Wilma McChristian make up the The WrinkleBox Players, where their piano accordions slightly resemble a box of wrinkles.
"I never thought the accordion as a wrinkle box, but somebody did, so that's why they called us that, and the wrinkle is for old ladies," Zink laughed.
The pair performed a holiday concert at the Galva Senior Center on Thursday.
The Wrinklebox Players started with five members when the group first formed in 2003.
"A girl in Hutchinson put something in the paper. She was looking for someone to play the accordion with. She had about five people in it and I had not had anyone ask for an accordion player for years, so that's kind of how it started," Zink said.
With years of experience, Zink uses her accordion as a second voice — enunciating her stories with happy notes and sad notes accordingly.
“I learned to play accordion when I was a child and played all the way through college until I got married in 1948. After I got married, I didn’t play because I didn’t have anyone to play with, until I got that call in 2003 with the ad in the paper,” Zink said.
As members later parted ways, Zink and McChristian now travel as a pair, performing at senior centers, nursing homes and small gatherings.
To stand out amongst the crowd, The Wrinklebox Players can be seen wearing funky matching outfits — like their red hats.
“They ruin your hair, but people like them,” McChristian laughed. “It just gives us kind of a costume identification.”
Their red hats aren’t the only thing that fans remember them by.
“We have very colorful shirts from New Orleans with accordions all over them,” McChristian said.
“I think they’re ugly,” Zink laughed. “But they do get a lot of attention. When we had five players and all of us in those ugly shirts, it made an impression.”
Zink and McChristian play a variety of music styles and fit their song selections to the season and their audience.
"We play a variety of waltz and polkas and some ethnic songs — we have several things," Zink said. "We play for the audience. There's a lot of things I can play that would be fancier or more elaborate, but we play things that they've heard before."
"About every three months we try to change what we play, we keep it seasonal,” McChristian said. “In January we'll play Kansas songs for Kansas's birthday and then in the spring we'll add some Irish for St. Patrick’s Day and in July we'll play songs like the Grand Old Flag.”
While playing their songs on the accordion, the pair often like to sing along, keeping the songs happy and upbeat.
Though they usually perform together, they sometimes venture out for solo concerts.
"I play by myself a couple of times and a lot in nursing homes," McChristian said.
Although the group may have a few years under their belts, they don't plan to quit anytime soon.
"If we can keep squeezing them in as long as we can and as long as people enjoy it, we're going to keep playing," Zink said.
Contact Brooke Haas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.