Local News

Piano Program Music To Ears Of Durham Seniors

Posted February 6, 2004

— They say the key to staying young is staying active. People in Durham are doing just that on a grand scale.

Some senior citizens are learning to play the piano for the very first time, and the program is music to their ears.

"I always wanted to know how to play the piano," student Edna Taylor said.

"Ever since I was in high school I wanted to take music," student Lucy Carver said.

"It just gives me something to look forward to," student Beatrice Watlington said. "It brightens my day!"

"I enjoy it, I really do. It gives you a lot of confidence," student John Wilson said.

At 84 years old, Mary Elliott is not thinking about slowing down -- she is concentrating on picking up the pace.

"It makes me feel young. I don't even think about my age," she said.

Most of the piano students have waited a lifetime for a chance to tickle the ivories. Some, like Bessie Patterson, have had lessons before, but somehow they did not stick the first time around.

"There was a young man that I was interested in, but my mother didn't know it and I would go take piano lessons -- but only to see him," she said with a laugh.

The students are only on the basics, but they all have plenty of rhythm.

The program is funded by a grant from the Fenwick Foundation and the Duke Endowment and is run by the Walltown Children's Theater.

The program has become so popular, organizers have added additional classes.

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