New Tradition Showcases Asbury's Musical Talent

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One of the greatest benefits of Asbury Methodist Village’s long history is the long-standing programs and traditions that have become part of its fabric. The Keese School of Continuing Education, run by residents, is more than 30 years old, while the Village Life newspaper will soon celebrate its 60 anniversary.

But Asbury is a community of energetic and talented people who, when they have a good idea, are eager to turn it into action. This means that new traditions are being born all time.

One such example is a concert given in the Crawford Dining Room every year around Thanksgiving time featuring musically inclined residents of the Edwards-Fisher Apartments. Performers take turns providing background music for diners and associates that ranges from classical to standards to spirituals.

Conceived by Ruth Spoor, this program is entering its sixth year – and it draws upon a pretty substantial talent pool.

“This event continues to be fun for me, and the response by the artists of Edwards-Fisher seems to say it is for them, too,” Ruth says. “In addition, new artists moving into the building are quick to join this event when it is described to them.”

Prior to retirement, Spoor headed schools for the higher education of young women and participated in her husband’s Methodist ministry throughout the New York City area.

At the most recent Edwards-Fisher Night, the earliest diners were treated to a medley dominated by classic show tunes performed on the Crawford piano Marjorie Jovanovich-Johnson,  a retired musician and music educator.

Retired vocalist and musician Lydia Skinner was up next, and chose classical pieces such as Chopin’s “Etudes” and “Polonaise.” Alma Rhodes, who taught music all over the world as she followed her husband’s U.S. State Department postings, continued the Chopin theme with “Prelude, Opus 28, No. 17.

A handful of others rounded out the program, while two former staff members of the National Institutes of Science and Technology, Roy Wampler and Paul Meissner, represented Edwards-Fisher’s male musicians during the evening, playing classical and ragtime, respectively.

“I’m delighted at the increasing number of residents across campus making reservations at Crawford on this night so they can enjoy this program,” Ruth says. “Those attending are very attentive and seem to really enjoy hearing these very special people.”

This aricle is excerpted from one written by Len Jakubczak for Village Life’s January-February 2015 issue.


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