Tickling the ivories for decadesAt age 12, Edna (Roe) Anderson started playing piano for Sunday School at the Salvation Army in Superior.
By: By Arlene Anderson/For the Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
At age 12, Edna (Roe) Anderson started playing piano for Sunday School at the Salvation Army in Superior.
Now, about to turn 90, the tough Norwegian is still at the keyboard.
Through the years, thousands of children passed through the Salvation Army doors and they all remember “Mrs. Anderson” who, like clockwork, would quietly be in her place and ready to provide the accompaniment for their youthful voices every Sunday morning.
One of those children was Roger Senn, who became her protégé on the piano. He later grew up to be a Salvation Army officer and friend.
“Edna was my mentor for a good number of years,” Senn said. “I had a natural love for the piano as a child but I would not have progressed as I did at the keyboard without her guidance. I wanted to learn as much as I could from her. She never said, ‘I don’t have time for you today.’ She would spend hours teaching me old tunes. She taught me all the basics as well as how to play in various keys. What a blessing it is to have this quiet and talented lady in my life.”
Until recently, Edna also played piano for Salvation Army church services.
“She’s phenomenal,” said Maj. Rosemary Matson. “I’ve never known someone who knows as many songs as Edna. We like to call her our ‘computer.’ Whatever song title we call out, she can just start playing it.”
A few years ago, health necessitated a move to Villa Marina Rehabilitation Center. Before long, Edna became a featured performer for the other residents twice a month, playing favorite songs from the 1940s.
“It is so great that she faithfully comes down every other Wednesday afternoon,” said Activity Director Paul Raunio. “The residents love it. She starts to play the old standards — songs they know — and the crowd quickly starts to sing along.”
Edna continues her Sunday piano playing — these days for the Baptists who hold a weekly service at Villa Marina.
“Edna is always so light hearted,” said Rob Chop, a member of Twin Ports Baptist Church. “She’s really the answer to our prayers. Our piano player became unavailable and we really struggled for a week or two for our Sunday services. That’s just when Edna moved into Villa Marina, and she immediately volunteered to help out.”
In between her piano playing, Edna enjoyed a 35-year marriage to Arthur J. Anderson and raised three daughters, Linda Bartlett, Carol Hudson and Arlene Anderson. Edna is a lifelong resident of Superior.
Help her celebrate her 90th birthday during an open house 2-4 p.m. Saturday at Villa Marina, 35 N. 28th St.