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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Music

Pandemic projects: Patsy Pinch plays piano for friends over 300 days and counting

By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

Patsy Pinch’s daughters fell asleep every night listening to the soothing sound of their mother’s piano playing.

For several years, folks at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center were treated to her tunes on Tuesday afternoons.

For more than 300 days and counting, friends and fans in Pinch’s social media circle have been delighted by her song-a-day posts.

“When I got word that I’d no longer be able to play at Sacred Heart, I knew I had to figure out how to do something,” Pinch said, recalling the hospital’s protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. “I think this pandemic has caused us to really consider what we do with our time and what we will do with our time.”

Music has been Pinch’s passion, but not her vocation. She worked in a variety of industries before retiring, and for many years her river rock art has been sold in galleries throughout the region.

Though she took piano lessons from childhood through high school, she never played professionally.

“The reason I volunteered at Sacred Heart was because I had terrible stage fright, and I wanted to get over it,” said Pinch. “When auditions would come up I’d get petrified and make mistakes. I wanted to be able to play in public and not be nervous.”

Her weekly gig at the piano in the hospital’s lobby allowed her to conquer her performance anxiety, and better yet, she enjoyed knowing her music provided comfort or distraction for those passing through the hospital’s doors.

Having seen the power of music to soothe and refresh, Pinch wanted to continue offering respite to others. From the grand piano at her home in Northwest Spokane, she began posting “Musical Moments” on Facebook.

Her first selection in March?

“Just Breathe,” by Eddie Vedder.

Since then, she’s continued to share a song a day, accompanied by a brief introduction and history of the melody.

“I started keeping a list, so I don’t repeat them,” she said.

Though trained in the classics, Pinch prefers to play popular music and scores from movies.

Many of the songs are Carole King or James Taylor tunes – music she’d played as her two daughters drifted off to sleep. If fact, “Musical Moments” prompted her to fulfill a promise to her children.

“I kept telling my daughters I was going to record a CD,” Pinch said. “COVID made us really look at our lives and think about what we’d regret if we didn’t do it.”

For Pinch, failing to make a CD for her adult daughters would have been a lasting regret. So, with the help of a friend who recorded the music in Pinch’s home and produced it in his, “Tuesdays at 2” was released in December.

The title is a nod to her volunteer gig at Sacred Heart, and the 21 featured songs; include a Pinch original, “Opus 13.”

“Music is the universal language that everyone understands,” Pinch said. “I hope to continue posting ‘Musical Moments’ until we move back into some sense of normalcy. I’m not going to run out of pieces, that’s for sure.”

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