by Jane Zimmerman, Treemont Resident
We have many residents at Treemont with talent and great happenings and achievements in their lives, but newbie Charles Stephens can claim fame in show business. A talented singer and pianist, Charles was also a well-known name in radio in his home town Kansas City, Missouri, at KPRS Broadcasting Corp.; New York City and Washington D.C. He was both a disc jockey and recording artist, appearing with his band, the Skylarks, in night clubs and other live gigs, like the small Madison Square Garden in NYC, where fans came to hear them and dance.
The Skylarks are all seniors now, and have lost touch, but Charles continues to play piano, though he no longer sings due to his recent open-heart surgery at the Michael E. DeBakey center here in Houston. Actually, Charles came to Houston for a DJ job, but had the surgery instead. (He had served 3 years in the U.S. Army in Germany earlier and was eligible for the V.A. Hospital’s DeBakey Center). In fact, he has been living at our retirement community in Houston in recovery for the last 7 months.
Charles has 2 sisters, Sharon and Stephanie, who also live in Houston. Both are married, and Sharon is retired from M.D. Anderson. Charles has 2 sons, Chuck- a music teacher and Kevin – a football coach.
Charles attributes his music career to his mother, who took him to talent shows in the park when he was young, growing up in Kansas City. He self-taught the piano: “There are only 12-13 keys in music – you have to play in one of them.” He attributes his stately walk and manor to the Army: “The Army makes you walk tall.” But he says his calm focus and collected disposition are from the music he loves: ”easy listening and smooth jazz.”
In his career, he played Al Green, Tom Jones, the Motown Sounds, as Diana Ross, and other popular artists of the era. He likes Cole Porter, George Gershwin and his favorite singer is Johnny Mathis, who is related to Charles’ music teacher. In fact, you can hear him play their songs on the baby grand piano in the front lobby before dinner. He is the casual, dignified, stately musician wearing the Kango (his British) hat.
We are so fortunate to have Charles here at Treemont! Let’s hope he is a Keeper also.
If you enjoyed meeting your Houston assisted living neighbor, then click here to meet more residents of this dynamic independent living in Houston community. There is much documentation on the value of social interaction and friendships in keeping seniors happy and content. Active Activities Programs are key to resident happiness in senior living in Houston communities. Seniors want to live with interesting and engaging residents. At Treemont, from concert pianist Ann Wang, to Nelda Sims of the Sims Trio and also Wilma Carr and Lily Tsu, residents enjoy in-house entertainment, and meeting new neighbors with whom to engage and share their new community. Please make sure you ask about the residents and the activities for seniors programs when you tour senior living Houston TX communities.