95-year-old former Grafton man still plays trombone for fellow senior home residents

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WEST FARGO — A quick tune-up, and 95-year old Glenn Paulson and his trombone start sliding out the songs of yesterday.

At Eventide's Sheyenne Crossings, Paulson and his accompanist, Gayle, play for his fellow seniors at the retirement center.

It all started in the late 1930s when Paulson wanted to play in the Grafton High School band, but his parents had no money to buy him an instrument.

The band director eventually helped out and found Paulson a cheap trombone his family could afford. Paulson bought it for $9.


Glenn Paulson (left) served in the Navy during World War II. He was stationed on a ship in the South Pacific. Special to WDAY

When World War II called, Paulson would serve in the Navy on a ship in the South Pacific. When he came home, Paulson worked for the railroad running a telegraph machine. He still has one in his room.

He later joined the Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band, where he played for years. Now, the retirement center is his venue.

The friends he lives with every day at Sheyenne Crossings sit back and listen to Glenn and his trombone. But it's not as simple as picking up his instrument and playing.

"I transpose it to bass clef, so I play the melody. In other words, I'm taking the place of the singer," Paulson explains. "I am still not up to snuff like I was before, but it gives me something to do."

Paulson lost his wife three years ago, and while it's still tough, playing music for his new fans has sparked joy into his life.

Related Topics: MUSIC
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