Villager Theresa Skolits is a 91-year-old, cool-rocking mama with a severe case of the blues – make that Blues Brothers.
Her family crew includes zany, bad boys — Rob and John — who brought their Blues Brothers tribute to the North Lake Presbyterian Church on Monday.
When John and Rob go into their Blues Brothers act, you can bet mama knows best.
“My sons are nuts,” Theresa said with a wink. “But I love them; they’re great musicians who help people.”
The Blues Brothers Benefit Show offered a full-fledged, hard-rocking blast. In addition to Rob and John, the cast also includes Theresa’s other children: Ted, Steve, Rich and Kathy. Not to mention her grandchildren, Ted Jr., Jonah, Kevin and Katie.
Guest singers Dawn and Ralph DiNome – along with a powerhouse 20-piece band – boosted the explosive energy of the 90-minute show. It benefits Operation Homebound to the help the children of the Ocala National Forest.
“For our family, this is a great night,” said Ted Skolits, who lives in The Villages along with his mother. “We’re not only helping the kids, we’re having a family reunion.”
Music is what makes the Skolits family tick.
“My kids were always making music while growing up,” Theresa said. “Little Teddy was always banging pots and pans. I told him to stop hitting the washing machine. We finally got him a set of drums.”
The drums were pounding out the beat all night long on Monday.
Rob and John kicked things in style with a couple of rollicking numbers, “The Kid” and “Hey Bartender.” The rocking got harder with “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” and “Going Back to Miami.”
Then the younger Skolits’ family kicked things up a notch. Jonah teamed with Ted. Jr, who played some scorching guitar licks on the old Chicago hit, “25 or 6 to 4.”
“This is the way we grew up; playing music together,” said Jason, who is John Skolits son. “It’s like being in a family band.”
The younger crew –Ted Jr., Jason and Kevin – teamed with Ted Skolits in a remarkable percussion demonstration during a cover of Santana’s “Everybody’s Everything.”
The elder Skolits played the main drum kit while the three younger musicians each played a small drum at center stage. The beat was infectious and furious.
“I taught those kids to play; we worked on that one,” the elder Skolits said. “I’m proud of them.”
Dawn DiNome then came on and nearly stole the show. She was in stunning vocal form on four numbers: “Respect,” “Think,” and then turned tender on a surprisingly moving, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”
DiNome then brought the house down with a pitch-perfect version of “I Will Always Love You.”
Ralph DiNome, Dawn’s father, kept the beat moving with “Jailhouse Rock,” “Gimme Some Lovin’” and “Knock On Wood.”
“I love this kind of music, its soulful and it rocks,” said Danny Anderson, dressed in a black suit with black sunglasses, looking like a Blues Brother. He sat at a table filled with men and women in similar garb.
“We all like the Blues Brothers,” Anderson said.
John and Rob closed out the set with the goofy Blues Brothers’ classic, “Rubber Biscuit,” which included puns about The Villages, like: What is The Villages winter Olympics team motto? – it’s all downhill from here.”
Despite the bad jokes, the boys do good work. They have raised over $14,000 to help the children of the Ocala National Forest.
“We have a lot of fun but the kids are what really matters,” John Skolits said.
His brother Ted put it another way, in Blues Brothers’ language: “God has really blessed us on this mission.”