Residents Pursuing their Passions at Wesbury’s Larcom Memory Support Center
The music ends when the man at the piano closes his sheet music. Hands begin to clap, and there is nothing but smiles all around the room. While he is playing, the people in the room sit quietly. If it were not for the piano, you could hear a pin drop. This is not a concert hall or stage, but the music fills this room almost every day. This is the Park Lane Neighborhood at Wesbury’s Larcom Memory Support Center, and the musician is resident Bill Witherup.
Music has always been a big part of Bill’s life. Before he retired in 1990, he was the music teacher for Crawford Central Schools for over 20 years. He taught students at every level from elementary school to Meadville Area Senior High School. Even a few of the staff members remember having Bill as a teacher back in their school days. Bill was also the organist for the Christ Episcopal Church on Diamond Park in Meadville.
It was Bill’s friend, Sandy, who went to Life Enrichment and Nursing staff with the idea of bringing in a personal electric piano for him to use. Sandy thought this would make living at Park Lane home for Bill. They all agreed it would be a great idea and Sandy brought in an electric piano. Since that day, Bill plays for his fellow residents daily. On his piano is a collection of sheet music filled with classical pieces and hymns of songs like “Aria,” “Lift High the Cross,” and “Savior of the Nations, Come.” Bill even plays some original published pieces for the organ that he wrote.
Sandy likes to see her friend happy with his living environment when she visits and is glad that the staff at Wesbury encourages residents to pursue their passions no matter the care level environment. Sandy notes, “Bill didn’t have any brothers or sisters growing up, something he always wanted, living at Wesbury has allowed to him to socialize with his fellow residents like a large family and put smiles on their faces by showcasing his musical talents; it’s heartwarming.”
Life Enrichment staff encourages Bill to play as much as possible and recently, he was approached to be the live entertainment for the Wesbury Foundation’s Donor Recognition Luncheon. For the event, Bill came over to Cribbs Residential Center to practice and planned his arrangements for the guests as they entered. “I think people respond to elegant music, something that is good to very good is the types of songs I like to play for people, and they seem to like them very much,” says Bill.
Bill’s story is encouraging to us all and at Wesbury, staying engaged at all stages of life is not unique. We strive to create an environment where residents can pursue the things they love or find new joys.