Music warms local treasures

Guest Editorial

I want to personally thank the many Ridgecrest residents who attended the shows put on by Piano & Song, Steve Lawless at the piano and vocalist Dell Yount, on May 14-15. The musical duo received such a warm welcome that they have agreed to a return visit in October.

The audiences enjoyed the interactiveness, as they were invited to sing along to familiar songs. Three of the shows were for the general public. There was a free mini-concert at the Ridgecrest Senior Center, a matinee at the Presbyterian Church (dedicated to Ellen Werback and Juliet Hirschy) and a well-attended evening concert at the Maturango Museum … special thanks to coordinator, Fran Rogers.

The most heart-warming moment, for me personally, was at Bella Sera. Activity Director Joylene Orog recalled a patient who previously communicated in screams, instead of words. During the show, she sang along.

After the show, I approached this patient, not knowing what to expect. I gently placed my hand on the patient’s shoulder and said, “I heard that you liked the music.” Eyes opened and I heard a calm voice say “Yes, it was wonderful.” This particular show was funded by our Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, for the benefit of patients and staff. Steve and Dell were invited to return because of the therapeutic effect on the patients.

The next day, the twosome visited the Memory Care building at High Desert Haven. This worthwhile performance was generously funded by the Ridgecrest Elks Lodge. Exalted Ruler Tia Courtney was moved to tears as she watched the frolicking interaction between Dell and many of the patients, while Steve filled the air with his amazing music.

At one point Yount became a Pied Piper, leading the a Conga-line of patients around the room, to the tune of “Sentimental Journey.” Many staff members joined in the dancing and a good time was had by all.

Their last show was at the HDH main dining room, for the Senior Assisted Living guests and staff. Lawless created a wonderful piano ambiance and sang a few songs, as the vocalist circulated among the diners, inviting them to join in the songs, even dancing with one delighted lady. Opal Goode, now 112, got an early birthday serenade from “the boys.” When asked if she liked the show, with a beaming smile, she replied, “You bet I did!!”

Activity Director Heather Dobbs was delighted with the entertainment.

This final show was funded by our local VFW Auxiliary Ship 4084. Our sincere thanks to Norma Gard, president of this fine organization.

Julie Pryor, Self-Appointed President of the Piano & Song Fan Club

Story First Published: 2019-06-07