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“80 Years of Music in my Life!”

October 7, 2019

Daphne Nelson, 90 years old and a resident of Brightmore for 4 years, has been playing the piano since she was 10 years old. Daphne grew up in Marian, NC listening to her grandmother play in the evenings as a young girl. She would watch her intensely and then try to play the same song or she would lay with her ear pressing to the floor and while listening to their old Victrola and mimic what she heard on the piano. Daphne says, “My ears were being trained way before my fingers were.”  Daphne grew up in a family where everyone enjoyed music. Her father loved to sing, her sister also played the piano and both she and her sister played the flute. There were many evenings they would stand around the piano and sing together and Daphne continued that tradition in her own home raising her children. Daphne never met her great-grandfather, but she proudly owns his 1898 hymnal, which she holds in one of the pictures attached. At 19, Daphne graduated from Flora MacDonald Presbyterian College with a major in Piano Performance. Her music career started in Aberdeen, NC as a private piano teacher and continued to Greensboro, NC until she reached Wilmington, NC. The going rate was $5.00 per hour (as Daphne laughs). She has always been a private piano teacher, she has played in over 22 churches in Wilmington, so many weddings & funerals she cannot even count. Daphne is definitely known for her 25 years of opening the Azalea Festival Juried Art Show with a piano performance. When she retired from the Azalea Festival, they gave her a pencil drawing of her hands playing the piano that is displayed above her piano in her apartment. Daphne’s biggest accomplishment is knowing that she taught 100’s of students of all ages to play the piano and some have made music their profession. A few of her students even went to Julliard to study. To this day, she will run in to her students around town and several still visit her when they come home to visit their families and call often. Daphne stopped playing professionally 5 years ago, but still loves to play for family and herself. She enjoys all types of music including classical, hymns, jazz and contemporary. Daphne says she can still remember very clearly playing her senior recital at college and her piece was a Beethoven’s Sonata. She loves to play Chopin, Brahms and Debussy’s Page D’Album brings a tear to her eye every time she plays it. That form of love for what you do is a true passion that not everyone gets to experience in a lifetime! Daphne ended by saying, “There are 6 things I could not live without. They are the Church, Family, Music, Books, Travel & Gardening!”

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