Riderwood’s Piano Club Takes Lead of Irving Berlin
In 1915, American composer Irving Berlin put his passion for the ivories into lyrics with “I Love a Piano.”
A century later, his song serves as the opening anthem for members of the resident-led Piano Club of Riderwood at their monthly meetings.
The group, one of the newer clubs at the Erickson Living retirement community in Silver Spring, invites enthusiasts to celebrate their love of the piano through music and story-telling.
Elizabeth White moved to Riderwood nearly nine years ago from Bowie. A classically-trained pianist and teacher who attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, the Piano Club was her brainchild.
“The purpose of the group is to share our common interests and to socialize in a friendly setting,” stated Mrs. White. “There is no performance requirement so we have been able to reach sixty members rather quickly.”
As folks file into the classroom, each month a resident volunteers to perform his or her favorite music, whether it be classical, spiritual or the standards from the Great American Songbook era.
“This is a fun tradition that allows those who play the piano an opportunity to share their talents,” noted Mrs. White.
The Piano Club has sponsored intergenerational concerts during the past two summers featuring grandchildren of Riderwood residents. During the recitals, titled “Relatives of Residents,” five young performers between the ages of 13 and 21 years of age have performed in front of audiences as large as three hundred. The programs have included pianists, singers and guitarists.
“It’s rewarding to see the gift of music being passed through generations,” stated Mrs. White, who, at age 12, performed with the New Orleans Philharmonic. “My mother was a tremendous influence in my early development as a musician.”
As the Piano Club continues to grow, its members are planning another concert in the “Relatives of Residents” series this summer and are participating in music therapy programming at Riderwood’s continuing care neighborhood.