The Oak Park Arms retirement community will be transformed into one of the grand old Chicago ballrooms of the ’30s and ’40s when it hosts a “Harvest Dance and Open House,” with the Freenotes Big Band, 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, in the Grand Ballroom of the Oak Park Arms, 408 S. Oak Park Ave. The event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.
The Freenotes is an 18-piece orchestra that plays music from 1940s through the 1960s. The name “Freenotes” originated 30 years ago when the band’s founder, the late Art Mertz, gathered a few musical friends to perform at an outdoor fundraiser. The group didn’t charge – hence the “free” notes.
The musicians had a great time that day, and the band has been growing ever since. Today’s 18 members range in age from 30 to 70. They perform in blue blazers with red ties.
Twenty year member Ron Chocola is the band manager, and he takes care of bookings and other business tasks. He plays trumpet in the band.
“We have a repertoire of several hundred songs, all very danceable,” Chocola said. “We play at concerts, parties and dances such as the one at the Oak Park Arms.”
In addition to the dance, an autumn open house will take place, and tours will be available. Attendees will have the chance to learn more about the Oak Park Arms and what it has to offer.
Refreshments will be served. Again, the event is free and open to the public.
The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides independent and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.
For more information call 708-386-4040 or visit

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