Local Dexter/Ann Arbor musician, Roger Parker, will be a featured storyteller in a live virtual event on July 30, 2020. Big Hearted Stories: Experiences of Aging will feature six talented local storytellers who will describe life changing moments that will leave the audience belly laughing, pondering or even getting a little weepy.
Roger met fellow musician and jazz enthusiast, Ed Cox, and the two hit it off immediately forming a new friendship at the ages of 71 and 92 respectively. Ed suggested to Roger that they form a duo, Roger on piano and Ed on tenor saxophone. Ed suggested to Roger that they call themselves “Salt and Pepper.” “Of course”, Ed (black), said to Roger (white), “I’ll be Salt and you’ll be Pepper!” Ed was one of the most dynamic people Roger had ever met. Roger considers himself an introvert and Ed was an “extreme extrovert.” Roger recalls, “He was a loving showman”, “multilingual”, and connected to every member of his audience. Ed could play jazz and in the same set, “sing Danny Boy like he was Irish.”
Roger and Ed started playing the “nursing home circuit” and quickly became a much sought-after duo. One time, Ed suggested that they play the blues for their audience. “You want to play the blues in a nursing home?”, Roger asked. Roger fondly recalls that Ed simply smiled and said, “Everyone loves the blues. The blues is medication for done-gone-wrong situation!” They did play the blues and everyone loved it!
To his surprise, in his 70’s, Roger unexpectedly learned many lessons from Ed including how to connect and make friends with every single person you meet and how to live life fully until the very end. Roger explains, “His influence still pervades everything I do.” When Big Hearts sent a call out for auditionees, Roger decided to tell this story not only because he plays for and loves one of the event’s beneficiaries, Silver Club Memory Programs, but because he had a story to tell. He said that “People you’ve known (and your experiences) can live through you through storytelling.”
Roger and five other storytellers come together for “Big Hearted Stories: Experiences of Aging” on July 30th, 2020 at 7:00 EST. This event is virtual, and free (donations welcome). The event benefits Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels, Housing Bureau for Seniors, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Silver Club Memory Programs, and Turner Senior Wellness Program.
Go to Big Hearts for Seniors to read about the other storytellers and to register for the event.