By Heritage Crossings Staff
When you hear someone say that “music fills the halls at Heritage Crossings,” they are not referring to the music piped through the speaker system, but rather the piano and/or keyboard music provided by two of our “over 90” residents.
Ruth Johnson, from Shickley, at age 91, is the “baby” of our two pianists and she coordinates who will play the pre-service music before the Sunday afternoon worship service at 2:30. Ruth says that she has to have her books to read the music she plays.
She had a wonderful piano teacher (Mildred Mansfield from Ong) and took lessons for quite a few years. The going rate for lessons at that time was 50 cents, but her’s cost 75 cents a lesson, maybe because her teacher actually came to Shickley to give the lessons. She would go to various homes to use a piano. Ruth says she did not like to practice at the time, but now her talent gives her so much joy.
Ruth played her piano every day and just prior to coming to Heritage, she had been playing for church each Sunday at the Ong Methodist Church. All the church had was a music box that nobody liked. It was difficult for Ruth to give up her service to the church when she moved to Heritage. She asked to bring her books along and almost every morning, you will hear her down in the multi-purpose room practicing.
Maurine Zetterman, at age 98, will tell you that she has been given a gift. When she moved to Heritage Crossings in May of 2009, she had quit playing the piano at home and it took quite a bit of coaxing to get her to try and play again. Maurine’s vision is impaired and she was very correct when she said she couldn’t see the music anymore.
For Maurine, however, the music was within her. The first hymn she played was “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.” After a few times of listening to and singing it, she sat down at the piano and transformed the four notes she heard into a series of chords and arpeggios that went from one end of the piano to the other. She has her piano in her room and it didn’t take long before her repertoire included dozens of hymns, as well as wedding songs and other music.
Maurine says her piano teacher was Wesley Sandberg, a bachelor from Ong, and she went to Ong for her lessons. She has played for the Shickley Methodist Church over the years. Maurine says that her music has helped her through some tough times. Besides, it’s just plain fun to play.
Besides their love of music, these two ladies have several other things in common. Both of them had been volunteers at Heritage until they could not do so anymore, with Ruth coming in and doing a hymn sing on Saturdays, while Maurine played for the Monday afternoon sing-a-long.
Both enjoy going down to the multi-purpose room a little before exercises each morning to provide music for the residents as they wait to begin exercises.
Both also prefer to play the piano, so learning to play the clavinova in the chapel presented them with a new challenge, but one that they have mastered perfectly.
At this time, neither of them wants to tackle playing the hymns for the service, but who knows, that may be just around the corner, as these two ladies certainly are comfortable using the gifts and talents they have.
What a tribute they are to the aging process and growing old gracefully. They contribute to the Quality of Life, through their music, for each and every person they come in contact with on a daily basis.