Boy Scouts, VFW Bring Music to Maplewood Manor

BALLSTON SPA – Good deeds by members of Boy Scouts Troop 1 and VFW Post 358 have made it possible for music from bygone eras to be played on an heirloom piano inside of the Saratoga County nursing home at Maplewood Manor.

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It is hoped the vintage Musette brand spinet, which was donated by the Russian-born family of former Maplewood Chaplain Lena Romanov, will lift the spirits of residents and their loved ones for years to come.

“Music is a universal language,” said Maplewood Administrator Diane Brown. “Many times even when residents with dementia have difficulty communicating with others, when they hear an old song they perk right up and sometimes even begin to sing the song.  The piano that was donated by the Romanov family has been placed in a dining room on the second floor where the residents from our dementia unit spend time in activities and at meals.”

The lives of visitors, volunteers and staff on the second floor will now also be enhanced by the gift of piano music.

Brown said the donation was “a community project orchestrated by composer-pianist Cole Broderick’s wife Ann who arranged for Boy Scouts Troop 1 to deliver the piano to the facility and for it to be tuned by Richard Varley thanks to a donation by VFW Post 358.  Many thanks to all who helped make the piano donation possible.” 

Cole Broderick, who entertains residents on the first floor of the county nursing home several times each year, said Chaplain Romanov’s daughter Maria contacted him about month ago to determine if the antique piano was worthy of being donated to the nursing home.

“I told Maria it was a keeper because it had a nice sounding board, but that it needed professional tuning and other repairs before it could be played,” said Broderick.

When Broderick wondered aloud how the more than 300-pound instrument could be safely moved from the private residence where it was being stored on Chapman Street to the nursing home on Ballston Avenue, his wife Ann decided to ask Boy Scouts Troop 1 and VFW Post 358 to help with the piano’s moving and with the cost of its tuning, respectively.

Noting that the third point of the Scout Law is to strive to be helpful, Troop 1 Committeeman Glenn Harrison promptly arranged several members of the Troop accompanied by parent volunteers, to move the piano.

“Scouts and parents are always willing to help others when they can,” said Harrison, who attained the rank of Eagle Scout with Troop 1 in 1968. “Each scout needs to have completed community service hours for each rank advancement. As result, they learn about giving back to their community. Boy Scouts of America is the largest organization in the world that teaches boys leadership, citizenship and character development as they become young men. Parents of the scouts participate in helping their sons learn these lessons by working with their scout.”

Those Boy Scouts who rolled up their sleeves to assist with the move were Evan Piscitelli, Brandon Reid, Andrew Roby, Justin Sanders and Greg Wilson. The latter also treated Maplewood residents to an impromptu piano performance upon its arrival at the nursing home.

Greg, a Ballston Spa Middle School student whose Great Aunt Fran is a Maplewood resident, hopes to entertain again on a future nursing home visit.

Parent volunteers who aided Harrison and the Boy Scouts included Bill Parlapiano, Mike Piscitelli, Cherrie Sanders, Marcos Vargas and Gary Wilson. An unexpected, but welcome, extra pair of hands showed up in the form of Good Samaritan Dave Abbarno, who recently moved from Colorado to Ballston Spa in order to accept a position with GlobalFoundries in Malta.

Within days of the piano being moved to Maplewood Manor, VFW Post 358 Quartermaster John Lombardo presented a motion at the Post’s monthly meeting asking that members pledge to cover the cost of having the old piano professionally tuned.

“Knowing that residents of Maplewood Manor and their loved ones include Veterans of Foreign Wars made it a special honor to support this mission,” said Lombardo, who is also the father of a village Boy Scout.

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