Category Archives: Audiences

Tell it like it is

On a dark cold January morning, I was riding a shuttle van to the Detroit airport parking lot after taking a red-eye flight from Seattle. The driver had tuned into a rebroadcast of Marian McPartland’s NPR program Piano Jazz. The … Continue reading

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

The times they are a-changin’

I was eating a bowl of cereal in my kitchen last October when I heard on the radio that Bob Dylan had won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I abandoned my spelt flakes, went to my sheet music closet, found … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Audiences, Music and emotion, Music programming, Song requests, Volunteering | Tagged | 2 Comments

Pianissimo

As winter turns to spring, I hope we’re nearing the end of coughing season. I attend a lot of classical concerts, most often performances by the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and by faculty and students in the College of Music at … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences | Tagged | 6 Comments

A dear old land of leprechauns and wondrous wishing wells

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I recently met a new resident of a senior facility who was, until a few months ago, a volunteer pianist like me. We chatted a bit and soon discovered we’ve played at … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Audiences, Music and emotion, Music history, Volunteering | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Like the beat, beat, beat of the tom-tom

I remember a skit on the old Carol Burnett variety show in which she sang “Don’t You Hate It When They Turn the House Lights Up.” Of course, she was famous for just that: “bumping up” the lights in order … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Music and emotion, Volunteering | 6 Comments

It took me by surprise I must say

I’d talked with Greg many times during my volunteer visits, but none of our conversations had been like this one. He: I’ll be 64 on Feb 14th Me: Oh, your birthday’s on Valentine’s Day! He: Yeah, and I’ve got a … Continue reading

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

Heard from the bench #6

“Look at all those handsome fellas!” No one expresses appreciation for the world around her quite like Mae. That day, it was the sight of three young maintenance men walking by that delighted her. I looked up from the piano … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Overheard, Volunteering | Tagged | 1 Comment

From the Archives

Yesterday I played Christmas carols for a group at a nursing home. They gathered around the piano to sing along. Between songs, they chatted with me. When I announced I’d be playing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Gail lamented, “Yeah, … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Piano performance, Volunteering | 3 Comments

Heard from the bench #5

Any time I need a little reassurance that someone out there is actually listening to the background music I’m playing, I pull out an evergreen from 1945: “It’s Been a Long, Long Time.” When I hear singing – and I … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Music and emotion, Overheard, Volunteering | Tagged | 2 Comments

Song without words

“Who put the kick in the chicken?” Patty repeatedly asked her tablemates, over a lunch of tuna salad. They tried hard to figure out what she meant, with no luck. Patty’s frustration mounted. “WHO PUT THE KICK IN THE CHICKEN?” … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Audiences, Overheard, Volunteering | Tagged | 2 Comments