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94-year-old piano player from DeWitt donates his time playing for other seniors

Posted at 3:53 PM, Feb 10, 2023

LANSING, Mich. — It’s been said the power is in your hands to become anything you want to become. For Dewitt resident Jerome Schafer, that’s true! Schafer is a builder by trade, but his other talent is letting his hands dance across a piano keyboard.

For the last six years, Schafer has been visiting the residents of Clinton County’s Gunnisonville Meadows Assisted Living Center to play some of the “classics,” as he calls them.

“I'm playing a lot of songs. I go back many years to the 30s, 40s and like that,” he said.

Joe Smith is a regular patron.

He plays here every Wednesday. I wouldn't miss it," Smith said. "He comes about 10:30 in the morning and plays until 11:30.”

Anita Iocco says listening to Schafer play is the highlight of her week.

“I wouldn't miss it. Yeah, he's good. I enjoy listening to him. I always make it a point to be here,” she said.

Schafer has been playing music since he was 14 years old, and 80 years later, he is still playing. He says the music comes from his heart, and he hasn’t had any formal piano lessons and doesn’t read music.

His granddaughter, Nicole Yabs, drives him to and from the weekly concert. Yabs says Wednesdays with her grandpa are her favorite part of the week.

“I don't think a lot of people appreciate the time that they spend with their grandparents, but I know that I definitely appreciate that,” she said.

Schafer says he’ll keep playing as long as he can.

“I enjoy seeing the people enjoying it, so that's enough for me," he said.

Jerome Schafer, thank you for sharing your gift with others, using your talent and helping us understand that music is more than notes on a page. Congratulations, you are this week’s Good Neighbor.

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Bob Hoffman

Bob Hoffman

9:44 PM, Nov 26, 2018

Good Neighbors Host

Bob Hoffman

Good Neighbors
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