Local musician takes show on the road, serenades seniors during COVID-19

Missouri

DES PERES, MO – Like many assisted living facilities, Cedarhurst of Des Peres has suspended indoor visits due to the pandemic.

But some outdoor visits are permitted. And one guest has all the residents smiling and swaying.

“I know most of the songs that he sings. And a lot of people will sing along with him sometimes,” said Gale Brockmeyer, resident.

Brockmeyer is talking about Ryan Muzzey, a local musician who has been touring different centers to play for residents.

Equipped with his PA system, professionally recorded tracks, and a voice trained to belt out tunes from the Rat Pack, Muzzey serenades residents from outside the front entrance of Cedarhurst.

“You can hear them through the windows. Sometimes, some of the floor staff send me videos of the residents actually dancing in their rooms, whether it’s husbands and wives, or just by themselves, dancing by the window, it’s awesome,” Muzzey said.

On a Wednesday afternoon, a group of women sat outside and swayed to the music as Muzzey sang, “That’s Life,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “That’s Amore.”

The old tunes fill the air with life and memories. Muzzey, who also happens to be the center’s Life Enrichment Director said the music can be powerful.

“The biggest payoff for me is being able to see how much joy the residents receive, just from simply hearing the music or interacting with it,” he said. “There’s something about the time that we live in right now that really is just left to loneliness and boredom.  Music seems to be a natural remedy for that.”

Muzzey said he is pleased the residents enjoy his performances. But he takes issue with his popularity.

“I’m no rock star,” he laughed. “I’m just doing what I’m called to do. And if that brings people joy, so be it.”

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