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At 102, Florence still shares music with the world

Amy Weiss | Jul 22, 2021

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Florence has been playing the piano for almost a century. The 102-year-old started taking piano lessons when she was four, and she was captivated by the music her own hands could make. “I had years of free lessons from my mother’s best friend,” she explained. “My mother died when I was born, but her friend looked out for us. She was the one who taught me to play.”

Florence, who also taught her five children how to play the piano, can play by ear. She still remembers the music and words to one of her favorite songs, The World is Waiting for the Sunrise, first published in 1919 (the year she was born). “Dear one, the world is waiting for the sunrise; every rose is heavy with dew. And while the world is waiting for the sunrise, my heart is calling for you...” 

Throughout her life, Florence has shared her talents with those around her. In the 1940s, she took a choir directing course at Macalester College. Then she volunteered with a music program at her children's elementary school, the Norwegian Women’s Choir, and church choirs. Previously, Florence used her talents as choir director at a local senior cooperative. She even brought the choir to sing at Care Suites of Edina, where she now lives. 

For Florence, playing the piano is almost as natural as breathing. And after 98 years, music hasn’t failed to bring her joy and comfort. “I like that I can play whatever I want,” she said. “I can make up songs or play something familiar.” She also shares her gift with her neighbors at Care Suites, playing in the dining room. If you get the chance to hear Florence play, you might also hear her sing... In her own words, sometimes the words just come out. The best part for her, though, is sharing music with others: “It’s so easy for me. I can play anything I’ve heard, and I know how I want it to sound. I can play people’s favorite tunes, too.” It’s easy to understand why people often come to listen, and Florence doesn’t mind an audience. “Some say they like to hear it,” she said with a smile.

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Florence also loves tennis... Check out this post with a photo of her in action! 

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