News: Neillsville - Rotary Piano Donation (Sweet Music - 2018)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Bjerke, Webster, Struensee, Chadwick

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 2/21/2018

Rotarians Assure Center Residents (Sweet Music - 2018)

Volunteer pianist Sharon Bjerke caressed the keys of a new electronic piano for the first-time last week at the Neillsville Care and Rehabilitation. Ron Webster, leaning on the piano, is among the Granton Rotary Club members who helped raise money for the piano. (Scott Schultz/Clark County Press)

By Scott Schultz

A smile crossed Sharon Bjerke’s lips as she coaxed the first notes of “Amazing Grace” from the electric piano at the Neillsville Care and Rehabilitation Center.

“I have to really hit the keys; I like that,” she said. “And, it really sounds good.”

The piano Bjerke was playing for the center’s music presentation was a recent addition to the facility’s recreation room, thanks to donations gathered by the Granton and Neillsville Rotary clubs.

Volunteers have been providing music – playing piano, accordion and other instruments along with singing – for the past six months. Rotary program director Ron Webster said the center had one piano, which is kep8t for use in a lower-level room of the center’s assisted living facility.

“We either had to move the piano upstairs every week or have the residents go downstairs, where it’s cold,” Webster said.

The best solution would be to purchase a new piano, so they could be used in each of the rooms without having to be moved, or without the residents having to move.

Rotary Club members went to work on the solution. The result was the purchase of a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-635 digital piano that cost $2,700.

Local businesses and private donors stepped forward to help with the purchase, Webster said.

He said the piano opens new possibilities to the weekly music programs at the center.

“Hopefully, we’ll get even more musicians, to play,” Webster said.

Center activities director Carol Struensee said the Granton-area volunteers who lead the Wednesday music programs approached her with the idea.

“The residents don’t like to go downstairs, where the other piano is,” she said. The Granton people asked if there could be another piano; when I told them, we might not have the money for that, they said they thought they could find people who’d help with donations.

There had been an old organ in the room, but the piano is a great improvement, Struensee said.

“I plays beautiful, beautiful music,” she said.

Struensee said the piano purchase and the musical volunteerism is an example of help the center often receives from the community.

Granton Rotary secretary James Chadwick said efforts to purchase the piano and fining volunteers to perform is important for the center’s residents.

“Residents really enjoy this every week, and their spirits have never been higher,” he said. “Music is truly good medicine for anyone of my age.”



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