Arbor Rose resident Ed Vater has always had music in his heart. A talented musician who could play clarinet and all types of saxophone, primarily alto, he was selected for the Army Air Corps band and performed throughout England during World War II.
“We were the best dance band in all of England,” he recalled.
After he returned home to New Britain, he often performed in groups with his two brothers, whom he refers to as “great musicians.” He raised three children with his wife Anne, attended teacher’s college and had a long career as an educator and college administrator. He built his own house and was also extremely active in the community. Even though music remained a passion (he loves Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra), he had never written his own song until he was inspired by a woman he met several years ago at a local senior center. He knew innumerable popular songs titled with women’s names but he couldn’t think of one for “Muriel.” Nor could he come up with his own tune until one night when he woke up, sat at his kitchen table and penned the lyrics and melody.
Denise Lebrocquy, retirement counselor, was enthralled by Ed’s musical talent and got thinking about his request to hear himself sing his tune. “A week later I was going to a recording studio,” he said. Six takes were all it took while a Hartford HealthCare videographer filmed the experience. Matt Berky, owner, engineer and composer of Massive Productions in Rocky Hill, added piano and “Muriel” was complete in December. The video can now be viewed on the Hartford HealthCare website and on YouTube.
Ed also gained the notice of Channel 8, which aired an interview with him. His daughter, Carol Vater, of Noteworthy Sheet Music and a flautist, arranged the copyright and published the music, lyrics and biography about her father.
“This was a beautiful and uplifting experience for him, and one for which I too am grateful,” she wrote in the notes.
Ed continues to inspire others with his music. He can often be heard playing saxophone in his Arbor Rose apartment where he has lived since October 2016. Initially discouraged by health problems, this experience has enriched his life. He credits Arbor Rose with making his dream come true and helping him be more involved in activities and GoodLife Fitness. “This place is wonderful – the residents, the staff – and I’ve made many friends. They say there is no place like home; there is no place like Arbor Rose,” he said.