Pianist Jimmie Fruchey of Cridersville recently reached the "coda" of his piano-playing years as an entertainer at Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio.
For the past 13 years Fruchey performed monthly as a volunteer for MHCO residents. Actually Bluffton is just one of his monthly gigs. He has also entertained in 10 area homes for seniors.
Fruchey recalls that he was drawn to Maple Crest Senior Living Village when it opened in 1999 when his sister, who lived across the street from MMH, encouraged him to visit.
"I was moved by the positive response I received," he said about residents responding to his music, noting the pleasure that hearing old favorites, secular and sacred, brought to the elders.
Fruchey is never surprised to discover that words to songs come easily to MHCO residents, as he has long believed that "music touches the soul" and sticks there.
With his retirement, three-quarters of "Music with Jimmie" draws to a close. For 75 years, Fruchey has performed on the piano across the United States.
As a youngster Fruchey said that he would sit down at his mother's 100-year-old piano - which had a keyboard with no ivory remaining on it - and play the tunes he heard on the radio.
By age 5, he was sponsored by Gulbransen Piano Co. of Columbus Grove, to play piano on the street. Later, he spent 25 years sharing his easy-listening music with the inmates of the San Quentin Prison in California.
Fruchey admits his retirement may not really be his swan song. "I'll be on call for special occasions," he said.