Blind pianist leads elderly in song
DESLEY Rennick, 71, is blind, so she can't see the keys she is striking.
She can, however, hear the residents of Mundubbera Hospital cheering on her jaunty tunes, or shouting out their requests for songs of their childhoods.
Mrs Rennick, who moved to Mundubbera 25 years ago, volunteers each Tuesday at the hospital to play keyboard, bringing the joy of music to its residents.
She says her specialities are "music, singing and chatting”.
She is a one-woman morale army.
"I just come up, say G'day, have a chat, have a cuppa, have a play, and if they wish, they can sing out numbers for me to play” Mrs Rennick said.
It's rare that she doesn't know a tune, but when she is stumped, she has a mantra, which she says to herself: "Please Lord, rattle my brain.”
And voila, just like that she usually picks up enough of a melody to please the requester.
Mrs Rennick said music was the best art form to communicate with elderly residents, as often they couldn't hear spoken poetry or prose.
For all the pleasure she brings to listeners, Mrs Rennick says the joy flows both ways.
"I get so much joy because they love it,” she said.
"I can share it and they can share it back.”
It's not just the hospital Mrs Rennick helps out at.
She regularly finds herself at the Uniting Church, filling in for the organist.
In fact, she'll play anywhere.
"I always want to play,” she said.
"I'm happy to play if someone wants me to.”
Mrs Rennick started playing piano when she was nine.
"Or, as I like to say, I've been learning for six decades,” she said.
Mrs Rennick's husband Keith, formerly a solicitor, is also blind.
She says it makes for an interesting and fun-filled household.
Director of nursing Jan-Adele Hotz said Mrs Rennick was a "remarkable” woman.
"They (the residents) look forward to it every Tuesday,” Mrs Hotz said.
"They're ready before she's even arrived.”