Tincknell performs ‘Swingin’ on a Star’

A guitarist, Tincknell can also play the banjo and the ukelele.

By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter

On Thursday, May 16, the Pilgrim Church hosted both their a-few-weeks-too-late Cinco de Mayo celebration, as well as the music and jokes of Roger Tincknell. Tincknell had performed for the Sherborn seniors for three years in a row, and since he had done Latin music last year, the day became a unique combination of Hispanic culture and the hit songs of the 1940s.

First, to be festive for the holiday, the seniors were served fajitas, tortillas, salsa and rice. A woman named Betty was given a birthday cake - though the crowd sang her “Happy Birthday,” rather than “Feliz Cumpleaños.”

When the food had been eaten and the holiday had been celebrated, Tincknell stepped to the microphone and introduced “Swingin’ on a Star,” his program of hit music from the 1940s. “I’ll give five dollars to the first person to get up and dance,” Tincknell promised early on in his program - though there were no takers.

Before he sang “Accentuate the Positive,” Tincknell joked about whether his music was too loud or too soft.

“If the music gets too loud, you can turn down your hearing aid,” he said, which drew plenty of chuckles from the crowd. “I can make that joke,” he clarified immediately after, “because I’ve been getting those AARP cards for about 30 year. You’ve got to be optimistic about getting old, and this is the most optimistic song from that era.”

Roger Tincknell takes a break from his harmonica to sing.

Roger Tincknell takes a break from his harmonica to sing.

Tincknell performed classics like “Wonderful World," “Georgia on my Mind," “Swingin’ on a Star," “San Antonio Rose” and “Blue Skies.” Before he sang “Old Cape Cod," he informed the crowd that “The funny thing about this song is the three songwriters had never been to Cape Cod when they wrote it.”

Tincknell played the guitar, harmonica and ukulele, as well as sang, and though he didn’t play it, he had - and could have played - a banjo, if he wanted.

But for “Grandma Slid Down the Mountain," he looked to the crowd for some help with yodeling. After demonstrating how to yodel, Tincknell applauded the crowd’s efforts - sort of. “You’re supposed to sound like a bunch of sick cows when you first learn to yodel,” he said, “so that was about right.”

Minutes later, he would return to his monetary offer.

“I’ll up the dancing ante to ten dollars if that’s the problem.”

While Tincknell’s program was all about the hits of the 1940s, he veered off script a few times, including brief foray into blues for the crowd. Before performing “Trouble in Mind,” he told the crowd: “I have to sneak in a blues song, because the blues played a big role in making all those other songs. And if ‘Accentuate the Positive’ didn’t work for you, you can just give yourself over to the blues.”

Although the crowd thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and Tincknell was very talented, he couldn’t leave without bringing up his dance offer one last time.

“Nobody danced, so I’m keeping the money all to myself.”

Maybe next year.

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