Howard Stone

Palm Beach Gardens, FL

“Getting paid to make music almost feels like cheating.”

Five years ago, at age 75, I stepped cheerfully into my 2nd encore career.

At the right time in the right place, our daughter, the harpist, suggested that I join her to audition at a large facility serving elders here in South Florida. It was an open invitation for performers to show their stuff to a number of “€œactivity directors”€ who hire musicians and other entertainers to provide therapy for their patients and pleasure for their residents.

Howard StoneWhen it was my turn, I sat down at a Yamaha baby grand and belted out “All of Me”€™; thanked them and sat down. One of the directors called me the next day and I was hired.

At that time, I was winding down my first encore career as a personal coach, author and speaker at my company 2young2retire helping people 55 to 65 clarify how they wanted their post full-time working life to be. While still feeling youngish and motivated to helping elders, I had had enough of travel and marketing our services even though our brand was still viable as a toolbox for discovering fulfilling pathways in the years ahead.

Synchronicity came into play when, about the same time, a younger adult came along and took 2young2retire forward. The 1998 to 2011 exciting adventure was over.

Getting paid to make music almost feels like cheating, but volunteering would make it harder to get a job for those who need the work to pay their bills. Here’s the thing. Every time I go and do my one-hour gig, I come away feeling uplifted and energized. My gift of music to them, mostly The Great American Songbook, is a joy for me as I watch their faces, their feet tapping, their eyes lighting up.