Meet the 89-year-old 'Piano Granny' bringing joy to hospital patients

By ZHENG CAIXIONG | | Updated: 2023-12-11 20:03
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Wu Pinxian talks to a girl after playing a song. [Photo provided to]

Wu Pinxian, an 89-year-old volunteer fondly referred to as the "Piano Granny", has committed herself to a unique form of service - easing patients' mental fatigue and emotional stress by playing the piano at a hospital in Guangzhou's Panyu district.

Since September, the silver-haired Wu has played every Thursday at the hospital's outpatient hall for at least an hour.

Wu dons a volunteer's vest when playing the piano. Her piano mastery routinely draws in a crowd of patients and onlookers who gather around to enjoy the musical offerings. She is invariably rewarded with applause every time she finishes a piece of music, a testament to her dedication and talent.

Wu has difficulty reading sheet music and seeing the keys due to visual impairments in her right eye, but she doesn't let that stop her. "I memorize the scores when I can't see clearly," local media outlets quoted her as saying.

The former art student resides in a nearby senior living community. She signed up immediately when she heard the hospital sought a volunteer pianist. Her mission is to transmit warmth through her music.

Wu said she is grateful to the hospital for providing an opportunity to serve the public in a way she loves.

"I feel thrilled when many people, particularly children, gather around to enjoy my performance," she said. "I feel happy when playing the piano for the patients."

Wu takes song requests during her performances, transforming the hospital's typically tense atmosphere into a joyous space akin to a live concert.

Although she has been retired for many years, Wu firmly believes in contributing to society. "I aspire to do the things I love, which society needs and to which I still can. Each act of service brings me a lot of joy," she said.

On Dec 5, the hospital heads awarded Wu with a bouquet for the 38th International Volunteer Day for Social and Economic Development.

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