Apr 2, 2018

Owner of 17,000 Albums Shares Music With Seniors

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Bob Knutson spent his working years as a welder. He is first to admit he lacked a spark for music.

Music found him anyway.

Now, every month Knutson drives a 200-mile route making sure music finds its way to senior citizens, too.

"This is a calling," the founder of Songs for Seniors said. "It's the best gift you could give these seniors."

KARE-TV reports that Knutson's path from retiree to music man started when a neighbor died, leaving him with more than 2,000 vinyl records.

Though never drawn to music before, Knutson started listening. Among waves of Johnny Cash, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, inspiration struck.

If Knutson could find enjoyment from the old albums, he reasoned, maybe others would too.

In 2014, Knutson dropped off his first turntable and speakers at a Red Wing nursing home. Four years later, he's delivered more than 40 record players to senior communities in eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

"This is better than medicine and it's easier to swallow," said Knutson, repeating one of his favorite lines.

Mary Dougherty is activities director at Preferred Senior Living in Ellsworth, Wisconsin, one of the senior communities on Knutson's route.

"The music just brings so many memories to them," Dougherty said. "There are some people that don't talk anymore and music will bring them back. They can sing a song even when they can't talk."

On a recent afternoon, residents of Preferred Senior Living gathered at a table, passing around newly delivered albums while listening to polka music and pop artists from the '50s and '60s.

 

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