HESSTON — Every Saturday morning, Hesston resident Bob Scheid can be found playing the drums — a hobby he started as a child and continues to enjoy at the age of 90.
"I basically started playing for money in the eighth grade," Scheid said.
It was during his eighth grade year that Pearl Harbor was bombed, taking many of the young men who were musicians in his hometown of Chicago Heights, Illinois, off to war.
"The supply of musicians went down and the demand for music went up," Scheid said.
Scheid and his friends began to get offers of gigs from the local bars.
"Of course, we were too young to be there, but this was Chicago — they bend the rules in certain situations — so we were employees," Scheid grinned.
As the drummer, Scheid had a unique perspective of the audiences listening to the music.
"The band leader, he's up front and facing the band ... the guys were all reading their music but, as the drummer, I was sitting there looking at the crowd," Scheid recalled. "You see some of the dynamics between the couples out there."
Whenever he noticed arguments between patrons becoming heated, Scheid would signal the band leader, who would immediately cue the musicians to play "The Star-Spangled Banner." The distraction of having people stand and place a hand over their heart served as a way to quickly quell disputes.
"That was standard practice when there was a riot evolving," Scheid said.
Scheid earned a degree in metallurgical engineering and started working for Union Carbide Corporation in 1951. He would spend 35 years with the company, heading up operations in the United States as well as Italy, Brazil and the Philippines and taking a break to serve for two years in the U.S. Air Force in Japan. He spent 10 years as a real estate agent in Colorado before retiring to Hesston in 2008.
As his life progressed, Scheid's faith and involvement in the Presbyterian church grew, though he experienced grief along the way. His first wife, Sally, died in 1975 after 24 years of marriage; his second wife, Bonnie, died in 2016 after 40 years of marriage.
Through the peaks and valleys of his life, drumming has been a constant source of joy, and Scheid still takes his Slingerland drums to play regularly at venues around Newton and Wichita.
"I go back to the old big band days of the '40s," Scheid said. "In those days, if you were a drummer, if you didn't have Slingerland, you didn't have drums. When I go out and play somewhere, some of the old timers see (the drums) and say, 'boy, I haven't seen those in a long time.'"
Scheid play with Jazzplay, a jazz quartet and vocalist, from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday morning at R Coffee House, 1144 N. Bitting Ave. in Wichita.
"We're labelled 'traditional jazz and blues,'" Scheid said.
Jazzplay can also be heard from 7 to 9 p.m. June 26 at Moxie's, located at 1420 Old Main St. in Newton.
Scheid said he appreciates getting to make music with people who are several decades younger than himself.
"It's a lot of fun at my age. All my life, it's been good therapy," Scheid said. "Anybody in music, particularly young people coming along, I tell them, 'don't ever give this up.'"