ELKVIEW, W.Va. -- John Denver once said music brings people together.
"It allows us to experience the same emotions," he said.
Dave and Bonnie Walker of Sissonville agree. They have been dancing to the sound of country and gospel music since they met last September.
"We enjoy slow dancing," Bonnie said. "We tend to throw a little two-step into the mix as well. . .music binds the two of us together."
The couple met at the Elk River Community Center after losing their spouses. Between the two, they have been married for 106 years.
"We met here and started dancing together," Dave said. "We fell in love and got married on May 11."
The community center, located in downtown Elkview, has been offering up a myriad of activities for residents since the mid-90s. The center has lunch and dinner programs in which hot meals are dished out to seniors. There are rooms dedicated to workout equipment and quilting, as well as an area dedicated to the center's thrift shore, where donations are sold for a profit.
However, the activity that attracts spectators both young and old is one that puts a little swing in their steps.
The center's Friday night jams are sure to pack the house, leaving only enough room for dancing. Those who come dance in many styles — line dancing, slow dancing, two-stepping and even clogging, which is a type of folk dance in which footwear is used musically by striking the heel to make a sound.
Jack Patton, volunteer at the center for upwards of 15 years, said a band performs at the center every week and the Friday night jams tend to bring out nearly 100 people.
"Back in the '90s, pickers would gather in the area where the thrift store is now and play music together," Patton said. "Today, we invite local groups and use a much larger room for the event because it has become a hit with the public."
Patton takes care of scheduling the bands, a task once done by his assistant, Bob Shaffer.
Shaffer died in mid-June and many of his friends and family went to the June 21 jam that was held in his memory. He was a man adored by many, including Becky Smith of the Country Swingers band.
"We have been playing at the center for a little over four years now," she said. "Bob would always call the night before and remind us of our show. He was a great man and was like family to me and everyone here . . . He will surely be missed."
Becky and her husband, Kenny Smith, make up the Country Swingers. The two live in Spencer and play classic country music, as well a little rock-and-roll and gospel.
They have been playing music together for nearly 40 years.
"Music brought us together," Becky said. "I tell people that I married him for his Fender Telecaster guitar. . .He is an excellent guitarist."
Before they met, Kenny played in an Indiana band named Country Swingers. After the two married, they began playing together — Becky on vocals and Kenny on guitar. The two played several gigs and ended up keeping the name for their duo.