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94-Year-Old Man Begins Dating, Joins Marching Band

At 94, Frank Walsh had already lived a long, full life. But he wasn’t done dreaming about what could be. After his wife of 62 years passed away, Walsh ambled down to a neighboring senior center to, in his words, “meet dames.” The one who caught his eye turned out to be Rosemary Acker, 87, whom he began seeing three times a week.

“I couldn’t ask for any more in life,” said Walsh. “I have health and love, and now this.” “This” was the crazy idea he had one day, to join the local high school marching band. Frank had no formal musical training, though he’d been around marching bands through his years of playing sports and serving in the military. But he wanted to be around the high school students, because he thought it would make him feel young again.

So when Chad Davies, director of the marching band at Wilsonville High, heard about the idea from one of the managers at Walsh’s residential facility, he posed the question to his students. And Stephen Jennings, lead snare drummer, spoke for the rest of the band. “Awesome,” he said.

They decided that cymbals would be the best instrument for Frank, since it didn’t require him to read any music. So they fashioned a special pair for him to use and gave it a try. It didn’t come naturally at first, but Walsh, a lifelong learner who’d spent more than 40 years teaching in Oregon schools, kept at it.

"I've been practicing, you know," he said. "I watch YouTube videos on how to play the cymbals. I've learned how to keep the left hand stable and hit with the right hand and how to deaden the cymbal by pressing it against my body."

Frank Walsh and his girlfriend Rosemary sat with the band during Wilsonville’s game against Wilson High. When the band played the fight song, Frank played the cymbals. It was Senior Night.

Potential Preaching Angles:

Even in old age, God is still capable of bringing new things to life. Seniors can be productive and find meaning in life by serving others.


Tom Hallman Jr., “No musical background. Age 94. And he wanted to join a high school band?,” Oregon Live (10-26-18)

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