You'll see Irma Kay sitting at the piano bench. You'll see her hands on the keys. You'll see her foot on the pedal. However, you won't see any music in front of her. The 94-year-old doesn't need it. She plays by ear.
"She's amazing. That's all I can say. She gives you goose bumps," said Tonya Thiese.
Every Thursday morning, Irma Kay plays at the Edgewood Convalescent Home's nursing facility, where she lives.
"She's always giving. She's thinking of everybody else but herself," said Edgewood Convalescent Home Activity Coordinator Tonya Thiese.
Irma Kay said she started playing piano more than 90 years ago.
"I crawled up on the bench when I was three and thumped away," said Irma Kay.
She said she didn't want lessons, and she has never taken one to this day. She simply plays by what she hears.
"My favorite song is Unchained Melody. She had never played it before. She listened to it, and she played it for me," said Thiese.
Kay plays for about 30 minutes for the nursing facility residents, but she is no stranger to playing piano for hours at a time.
"I played with dance bands for, would you believe, 70 years from 17 years old to 87," said Kay.
The great-great grandmother knows hundreds of songs and has even written her own music. Still, she only describes her playing as a hobby.
Besides being a good piano player, Irma Kay is also modest and humorous
"I hope it's okay because that's the best I can do," she joked.
One of Irma Kay's four sons did tune and rebuild pianos, but he said none of them inherited their mother's gift of playing by ear.
Irma Kay is playing at the Eagles Club in Manchester on December 14th around 5:30 p.m.
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