What did I miss most during the 15months of Covid sheltering? Many possible answers, but I think highest on the list was not getting to play piano at the Jewish Home for the Aged. And on Friday, I finally did.
The crowd was a bit larger than usual, some 20 plus residents and I was happy to see that I recognized about five (though don’t think they recognized me). Just as when you’re at the beginning life, a lot changes in a year and a half, so at the end of life. But no matter, off I went for a 75-minute romp through Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Scott Joplin and then into the jazz standard repertoire, dedicated some pieces to the memory of my old friends Fran and Edie, whose absence I felt and whose presence I felt. The piano was newly tuned (literally finished one minute before I arrived) and the new entertainment director spontaneously got out and danced to a few of the numbers.
What would have been perfect was slightly diminished by holding on to the No Singing rule, one I consider unnecessary— and I believe doctors agree. The jazz tunes are great, but feel incomplete without the memorable, witty and occasionally poignant words that are such an indelible part of them. I’ll be patient for now, but really, folks, let’s follow the science.
I met some new musical enthusiasts, including a man who knew a lot about Jazz Big Bands of the 30’s and 40’s. There may have been some enthusiastic singers amongst the crowd, but how would I know? There were a few people I worried about not being there and they weren’t, but not clear if they passed on or just missed that occasion. I’ll ask again next Friday.
But meanwhile, gratitude beyond measure for the opportunity to share music I love with people so happy to hear it. That joyful sense of homecoming—I’m back!!!