Author Archives: volunteerpianist

Hero in your own hometown

“Caregiver! Caregiver!” Mary Lou called weakly, hoping to get the attention of an aide serving lunch across the room. No luck. I was nearby, playing background music to accompany the meal. I don’t know Mary Lou’s health story, but she … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Piano performance, Volunteering | Tagged | 3 Comments

School days, school days, good old golden rule days

I’ve written about the magic of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” for my elderly listeners. I love the wave of soft singing that makes its way across the room and reaches me at the piano every time I play … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Music and emotion, Reminiscences, Volunteering | 2 Comments

Light up the sky like a flame–fame!

Have you ever played that party game where everyone tells the story of their biggest brush with celebrity? My celebrity sighting is pretty lame. I saw Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson’s fawning sidekick, at an ocean-front Los Angeles restaurant in the … Continue reading

Posted in Music history, Reminiscences | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Comes a toothache, see the dentist right away

Can you remember the name of your childhood dentist? Most people can. Mine was Dr. Bigsby. My husband’s was Dr. Mastromatteo (dubbed “Dr. Mashed Potatoes” by a younger sibling). I have a friend who grew up in Milwaukee and went … Continue reading

Posted in Piano performance, Reminiscences | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Who will buy?

You’ve probably never heard of composer Richard Trentlage, but every kid—at least in Wisconsin—knows his most famous song: Back in 1962, Trentlage came up with his “Oscar Mayer Wiener Song” when the company (based in Madison, Wisconsin until a few … Continue reading

Posted in Music and emotion, Music history, Songwriters | Tagged | 4 Comments

Love’s old sweet song

I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to find Owen. He steadied himself with his walker and grinned. “Bet you didn’t expect to see me here, did ya?” Until a few weeks ago, Owen lived in an independent … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Audiences, Music and emotion, Song requests, Volunteering | Tagged | 1 Comment

They can’t take that away from me

A few weeks ago, I mentioned here that I’m working on a children’s book about 19th century pianist Clara Schumann. This project has required a lot of research, which I enjoy. Here’s a sample of what I’ve learned. As a … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Music history, Volunteering | Tagged | 8 Comments

Smoke! smoke! smoke! that cigarette

I recently inherited 3 big boxes of sheet music from my father-in-law, an amateur trombone player. He enjoyed buying sheet music on eBay, and often sent me copies of songs he thought my senior audiences might like. I’ve sorted through … Continue reading

Posted in Music history, Sheet music, Singers | 4 Comments

Feelings, nothing more than feelings

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I haven’t been posting as often as usual. That’s because this summer I’m concentrating on another writing project: a children’s biography of pianist Clara Schumann. She was one of the most … Continue reading

Posted in Music and emotion, Piano performance, Writing | Tagged | 7 Comments

Daddy sang bass, Mama sang tenor

When I play “Tip Toe Through the Tulips,” 92-year-old Marcie doesn’t think of Tiny Tim’s 1968 falsetto rendition. Instead, she hears her mother’s voice. Marcie had a twin sister and another close childhood friend. When the three girls were little, … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Audiences, Music and emotion, Volunteering | 5 Comments