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82-Year-Old Keyboardist And Her Crew Bring The Funk To D.C. Bar

02/20/2015 10:50 am ET

A very unexpected star is responsible for bringing the house down each week at a Washington, D.C., bar.

Every Sunday for the past two years, funk fusion band Granny's Ball of Odds, or Granny and the Boys, as they're affectionately known, has taken the stage at the Showtime bar to entertain patrons. While the house band is made up of several talented musicians, the group's special draw is the keyboardist -- 82-year-old Alice Donohue or Granny.

"We like to call ourselves an 'old-school' band. Emphasis on the old," Roberto Santos, the band’s bassist, told American University's WAMU 88.5 radio station.

After her husband died in 1996, Donohue enrolled in a music program for seniors at the University of Maryland. Richard Lynch, the band's current drummer, had been working at a restaurant at the school and convinced Donohue to start managing the group. Later on, when a substitute keyboardist was needed for a gig, Donohue rose to the occasion.

The rest is history.

Today, the band, which has been together for 17 years, plays a mix of different genres, covering popular old songs, and also showcasing some originals, the Washingtonian reported. But Donohue says their specialty is in "funky" music.

"Funky -- that we can do, no problem, and I know the audience likes it because it’s more of what I call 'pumping music' -- they can get up and really get going on that," the 82-year-old told the Washingtonian.

And though Donohue and the band have been entertaining bar patrons for a while now, she says a few customers are still surprised by what they see and hear.

"Some of them will come up at the bar and watch my hands and look at my shorthand music to make sure I'm actually playing that," Donohue told WAMU. "That I’m not just a prop, sitting there pretending, you know."

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