99-year-old man puts on concert for others on his birthday

A 99-year-old man put on a concert for others on his birthday in West Frankfort, Ill.
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 1:24 PM CDT
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WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (KFVS) - A “young” 99-year-old man celebrated his birthday on Saturday by giving back to the community through music.

A small crowd packed the Wit & Wisdom Senior Center in West Frankfort where Gene Stiman celebrated his birthday by providing the audience with a concert.

Stiman was joined by musicians from the former band called “As Time Goes By” where they played music for hours.

Stiman said he loves being able to continue his passion playing music after all these years.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Stiman said. “It’s just hard for me to realize I’m 99 years old and I still can move my hands, still can walk and still can make noises on the trombone for crying out loud.”

He was playing the trombone at the concert, something he has played for many decades.

“When I was a little kid, my dad was a musician and he played banjo and I could play a banjo before I ever started school,” Stiman said. “When I started school, my dad said I want you to play a trombone.”

Stiman has been playing ever since and says he doesn’t plan on stopping.

“I just love it,” Stiman said. “If I don’t get together [to play] on Friday; we get together every Friday and if I don’t do that, my whole week is lost.”

There were also several former students at the concert event that came by to wish him a happy birthday and watch him perform.

“I see people sitting down there and I can’t remember their name but man, I know that guy,” Stiman said. “It’s such a pleasure that they think about me and they want to come and say ‘hi’ and ‘happy birthday’ and all of that stuff. It’s unbelievable.”

Stiman is a former member of the Benny Goodman Orchestra. He hopes to continue performing for years to come.