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The Trombone ForumCreation and PerformanceOther Musicians and Ensembles(Moderator: blast) Know of any other hidden talents, perhaps you should visit
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sly fox
love old trombones' engravings

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« on: Dec 09, 2011, 02:33AM »

your local nursing homes?


Rhythms Flow as Aging Pianist Finds New Audience

. . . Some things you don’t forget, so Mr. Dunlop keeps a white towel handy to wipe his eyes dry.

And so Mr. Dunlop would have remained, summoning transcendence from a damaged piano in the Delaware Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, his audience a couple of administrators, a few nurses and many patients beset with dementia, loneliness and age — were it not for a chance encounter and some cheesecake.

Instead, Boyd Lee Dunlop, 85, is the featured performer at a concert on Saturday night at the Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in downtown Buffalo. Admission is $10. And if you want to buy his debut CD, that will cost you another $15.
. . .

Mr. Dunlop arrived at the brown-brick nursing home nearly four years ago, a strong-willed but slightly bent half-note. He had 50 cents in his pocket, too much sugar in his blood, and a need to be around others. He liked to sit in the lobby and greet people, especially the women.

After a while, Mr. Dunlop let it be known that he was a musician. This did not distinguish him in a place where someone might claim to be a retired concert violinist or President Obama’s mother, and, in the first case at least, be telling the truth. Also, music here usually meant something to be endured — the weekly sing-along, say, with a resident armed with his own electric keyboard.

The broken cafeteria piano was a tease that Mr. Dunlop could not resist. He played when no one else was around, between meals, early and late. He learned how to dodge the piano’s flaws, how to elongate the good notes and suffocate the bad.

Nothing like his music had been heard in these cleanser-scented halls. The sounds of Boyd, including the occasional yowl, would flow from the empty cafeteria to greet Kate Wannemacher, the director of nursing, as she arrived early in the morning. “He plays right out of his heart,” she says.

Life kept time to a nursing home’s beat. Breakfast lunch dinner, breakfast lunch dinner, with occasional riffs of bingo, sing-alongs, insulin shots, paranoia, and more bingo. Mr. Dunlop had his bellicose moments, but mostly he was charming away in the lobby or, more likely, entranced by the cafeteria piano.

Then came that chance encounter.

In the spring of 2010, a freelance photographer named Brendan Bannon arrived to discuss an art project with nursing home administrators — and Mr. Dunlop greeted him at the door. Mr. Bannon is balding, so Mr. Dunlop assumed for some reason that he was a doctor. “Hey doc!” he shouted. “Take my temperature.”

A bond quickly developed, and before long Mr. Dunlop invited his new friend to hear him play what he referred to as “that thing they call a piano.” Mr. Bannon, who knows his Mingus from his Monk, could not believe the distinctive, vital music emanating from a tapped-out piano missing a few keys.

“He was a beautiful player,” Mr. Bannon says. “He was making it work even though it was out of tune.” . . .

Sensing Mr. Dunlop’s growing frustration with the damaged piano, two nursing managers, Pete Amodeo and Sue Cercone, came up with an idea: a bake sale. He made several Italian cheesecakes, she baked some cookies and other staff members helped out to raise more than $100 — enough to pay for a visit by Vinny Tagliarino, a blind piano tuner.

The crisp sounds now rising from the cafeteria’s corner, that haunting take on “The Man I Love,” were so distinctive that Mr. Bannon sent cellphone recordings to his childhood friend Allen Farmelo, now a music producer in New York. His question: Is this any good?

What Mr. Farmelo heard were snippets from the ongoing composition of a black man who was born poor in Winston-Salem and raised poor on Buffalo’s East Side. Whose mother cleaned houses and whose father is mostly clean from memory. Whose younger brother, Frankie, would become a world-famous jazz drummer whose work is featured in more than 100 recordings. . . .

So, in late February, Mr. Bannon and Mr. Farmelo rented a recording studio and hired two first-rate musicians: the drummer Virgil Day and the bassist Sabu Adeyola, who knew Mr. Dunlop from the still-open Colored Musicians Club in downtown Buffalo. When Mr. Dunlop arrived for the session, he didn’t even take off his coat. He went right to the Steinway, and started to play a riff that would become part of the CD, called “Boyd’s Blues.” . . .

we waste the talents of the aged.


where is my crying towel, I got wet eyes.

First and foremost I'm a proud Dad & lucky Husband.  They say great minds can differ (not that I claim to have a great mind).  Remember that $ and my opinion buys coffee at the diner.
.522" Conn Lover

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« Reply #1 on: Dec 09, 2011, 04:59AM »

There is soo much truth in this that it hurts.

Wasted tallent there but also people who so dearly need and appreciate the gift of music.

I lead worship 1x a month at the nursing home in my town of 1,800 people.  Early on I grabbed the horn (the 79H is perfect for this) and and used it to play along with hymns.  My small but captive audience seemed to love it so I kept bringing it to the service.  When I don't I have several that remind me to bring it next time. 

The way our nation treats elderly makes me angry  >:( >:( >:( >:(

Conn 77H - parade worthy
Conn 79H with a Rotax valve
Conn 80H -> 78H w/ 8" red brass bell
Besson 8-10 that needs some TLC
Paul Martin
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 10, 2012, 04:36AM »

I run into old guys who were exceptional players every so often at my big band's concerts, at one before Christmas, it was a sax player, now in his late 80s, who had played with practically everyone who came to Pittsburgh from, say, 1945-1975 as part of various house bands, fascinating to talk to, and an absolute treasure trove of first-hand information of a lost era of music.
« Last Edit: Jan 11, 2012, 04:14AM by Paul Martin » Logged
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