The Willows’ much-loved resident pianist is back behind the keys

“Mr. Roger”, Willows Estate’s in-house pianist, performs for residents for the first time since March.

‘Mr. Roger’ had not played piano for residents since the pandemic began, and his recent socially-distanced performance was a big hit for residents

For the first time since the global COVID-19 pandemic began, a Willows Estate resident who has long been the Aurora, Ont. long-term care home’s resident pianist is once again tapping his fingers across the keys.

Mr. Roger, as he is affectionately called, is, as life enrichment aide Azaria Kanda puts it, one of the Willows’ “ridiculously talented residents,” and he played the piano for residents last week during a performance with social distancing in effect.

Residents loved it, Azaria says.

“Roger is an exceptionally talented man with skills on the piano like no other,” he says.

“Being away from the piano because of the pandemic has been a challenging time for him, robbing him of exercising his artistic side. However, the light at the end of the tunnel has shone.”

Before the pandemic began in March, Mr. Roger was scheduled once a week to play piano for residents “and each time it was a home run,” Azaria says.

Azaria says residents are “in awe” of Mr. Roger’s knowledge of music, and he can play everything from classical music to what Azaria calls “trip-down-memory-lane anthems.”

“Roger’s piano skills manage to transport our residents back to the good old days because so much emotion is felt when (he is) hitting each note,” he says.

“The cadence, the precision and smooth segue from one tune to the next is really something to experience.”

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