SING IT OUT — Dr. Bill Webster, 93 (at the piano), is pictured performing along with vocalist Sue Haas at the Hamburg Adult Day Care Center. Photo submitted by Eileen Hotho.
HAMBURG — Retired pediatrician Dr. Bill Webster, 93, has been tickling the ivories, once per week, for Hamburg Adult Day Care Center attendees for nearly 20 years.
Webster has been playing the piano for most of his life. “I don’t want to just perform for an audience,” he said, with a smile. “I want people to participate and have fun.”
He plays songs from the 1920s, ‘30s and more, for people at the town of Hamburg Adult Day Care Center.
Following lyric sheets, attendees join in, to assist Webster’s vocalist, Sue Haas, with the strains of “America,” “Heart of My Heart” and “Hello Dolly.”
Webster retired from practicing medicine in the late ‘80s. He graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo’s medical school and began his practice in the village of Hamburg in 1953.
He played piano and flute in the school band in Geneva, N.Y. The late Elizabeth Peery, a violinist, persuaded him to join her and others in the late 1980s, playing for older audiences in Hamburg. They branched out, and additional musicians came aboard.
As the medical practice wound down to part time and Webster eventually retired, the former pediatrician said his musical career “evolved” to include more visits to venues such as Creek Bend Heights and Elderwood Village at Rosewood in Hamburg, Lord of Life Adult Day Center in Depew and Eden Heights in Eden, in addition to the Hamburg Adult Day Care Center.
The band performed at the Wanakah Grill and Romanello’s South, and continue to host a monthly sing-along at the West End Inn, located at 340 Union St., at 6 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month. Additional musicians included drummer Charlie Lorigo and singers Joe Streamer, Sue Gow and Ginny Sprague.
“Through his music, Doc Webster and his sidekick, Sue, have continued to bring such joy to our participants,” said Shirley Spaulding, senior program coordinator of the adult day services. “Their specialty is the ‘golden oldies.’ This music brings back wonderful memories for our folks. We are so thankful to Doc and Sue for their 17-plus years of dedication.”
Approximately 60 individuals are enrolled at the Hamburg Adult Day Care Center. The center has a stated goal of offering assistance to caregivers who are employed or need relief from their daily demands of providing care. It is open to individuals who are unable to attend traditional senior center programs. Residents from other municipalities may also participate. Full days and half days are available. Services include case supervision, daily activities and field trips, fitness programs, meals and snacks and personal care assistance.
The Hamburg Adult Day Care Center will relocate to its new home in the town of Hamburg Senior Community Center at 4540 Southwestern Blvd. at some point, and its current location at 353 Pleasant Ave. will be put on the market, according to town officials.
Hours for the adult day care center are 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday. For more information, call 646-0255.