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Getting the band back together: The Penguins performed fundraiser show Monday

  • Jim Smith, seated farther away, and Cody Sandusky both perform on the piano together at The Penguins' Cole Porter revue Monday night.

    Jim Smith, seated farther away, and Cody Sandusky both perform on the piano together at The Penguins' Cole Porter revue Monday night.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Greg Hodson plays a solo during The Penguins' Cole Porter revue Monday night.

    Greg Hodson plays a solo during The Penguins' Cole Porter revue Monday night.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Melinda Tolley sings during a number for The Penguins' Cole Porter revue Monday night at the First Presbyterian Church of Harrisburg as Greg Hodson, back left, and Bruce Boone wait to play.

    Melinda Tolley sings during a number for The Penguins' Cole Porter revue Monday night at the First Presbyterian Church of Harrisburg as Greg Hodson, back left, and Bruce Boone wait to play.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Jim Smith, right, and Cody Sandusky play.

    Jim Smith, right, and Cody Sandusky play.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Cody Sandusky, left, Jim Smith, Melinda Tolley, Bruce Boone and Greg Hodson gather together at the end of The Penguins' performance Monday night.

    Cody Sandusky, left, Jim Smith, Melinda Tolley, Bruce Boone and Greg Hodson gather together at the end of The Penguins' performance Monday night.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Bruce Boone plays a solo during a number while he performs with The Penguins Monday night.

    Bruce Boone plays a solo during a number while he performs with The Penguins Monday night.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Cody Sandusky plays piano during The Penguins' musical performance Monday night.

    Cody Sandusky plays piano during The Penguins' musical performance Monday night.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Jim Smith, bandleader for The Penguins, plays an electric bass Monday night.

    Jim Smith, bandleader for The Penguins, plays an electric bass Monday night.
    TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

 
By Travis DeNeal tdeneal@dailyregister.com
Posted on 12/4/2019, 4:10 PM

HARRISBURG -- Having a deep love for music is what makes playing worthwhile to Jim Smith.

Smith, who serves as bandleader for local musicians "The Penguins," says he's enjoyed playing music since his youth.

On Monday night, The Penguins performed a revue of Cole Porter's music for a full house at the First Presbyterian Church of Harrisburg to help raise money for the church's building fund.

Smith, together with Greg Hodson, Bruce Boone, Melinda Tolley and Cody Sandusky, wowed the crowd with their show.

And Smith said for him, it's all about enjoying music.

He and fellow bandmate Hodson began playing together when they still were in high school.

"I graduated in 1964 and Greg was in the class ahead of me. We had a stage band, which was right at the end of the Big Band era. That stage band played at proms and other events," Smith said. "That's when we first got interested in that music."

While Smith was a trombone player at first, he wasn't crazy about the instrument. He started working with other instruments, including the bass and the guitar. He had started out in music learning the piano as well.

Eventually, he put public performance on hold.

After high school, Smith went to college, on to law school and served in the military. In the meantime he got married and raised a family.

It was several years later that someone asked him to perform at a fundraiser for Harrisburg Medical Center. He called up Hodson and asked him to play with him.

Since that time, The Penguins has played at various local performances, delighting audiences with their ability.

It's an informal setup, Smith says, chuckling.

"The Penguins is basically whoever I'm playing with at that time," he said. "It's not a formal lineup."

For instance, he said, George Sisk of Equality sometimes plays with the group, particularly each year at the Taste of SI show in Harrisburg.

As for the band's name, underscored by a plush penguin toy Smith sets on a piano, music stand or other surface when performing, it is a nod to an early show.

"We had a job, and we were dressed in black and white. Somebody asked for the name of our group, and then they said 'We're going to call you The Penguins,'" Smith said. "And, that was that."