Norma Allman, the trombonist who led this band until her death last March at age 90, jokingly called it the Always Too Late band. But her son Mike, who also plays trombone, says that Never Too Late is a very apt name because the band gave several of its members the impetus to return to playing after long absences from their instruments.
The big band was formed in 2005 at Carroll Lutheran Village retirement community in Westminster by trombonists and retired music teachers Neale and Norma Allman. Norma took over the leadership when Neale died in 2010. Since Norma’s death, the band has been led by saxophonist Matt Elkey, who also leads the Baltimore County Senior Swing Band. Never Too Late rehearses weekly at Carroll Lutheran Village, where nearly half its members reside. Non-resident members tend to play in numerous big bands.
The band is quite integrated into the life of Carroll County, which still retains some of its rural character, playing at annual strawberry and peach festivals, church concerts, dances and an annual Veterans Day recognition event.
Never Too Late’s repertoire includes Swing Era standards (some updated by noted arranger Dave Wolpe) and Latin tunes – “things that dance bands used to play all the time,” according to Mike Allman, “plus a few more modern things.” He says that their weekly rehearsals have really paid off, that the band has sounded very strong in its last couple of performances.
You may see and hear the band playing the Glenn Miller classic “In the Mood” on youtube.com by entering Hangar Dance – Westminster, MD – Never Too Late Band.
This article continues our series on area big bands — if you missed any of them, you can catch them here at Big Band of the Week.