Joni’s Story: A Music Filled Life at American House
Joni, who calls American House Macedonia home, turns 81 in July. She was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Music came to Joni at young age when she began playing piano by ear.
At age 8, she made a record with her brother featuring polka and dance music.
Joni’s never had any formal musical training, although she excelled in the art. She continued to sing and perfect her piano playing throughout her childhood.
Joni thrived while doing solo and duo performances. She started out performing Blues music, and later switched to Country music due to its popularity. Joni has played at many venues over the years including, fairs, restaurants, weddings, parties, the Cleveland Athletic Club, churches, bars and at birthday celebrations.
She always did her own bookings, which included scheduling her performances, taking photos and even marketing. Joni also taught musical theory at Tri-C College, in Cleveland, Ohio and taught voice lessons on the side.
Today, Joni still has a strong passion and love for music. She is always humming a tune or singing. She spends many nights thinking of new songs she can compose and sing.
She revealed, “My heart is what inspires me. I have such a passion for music, I want to do it as long as I can.”
Her excitement to perform is more fierce than it ever before, and she is often seen playing the piano by the dining room at American House Macedonia several times a week for her friends and neighbors. Joni loves to entertain and make people laugh.
“My favorite moment happened recently when I played piano for my fellow residents here at American House. At first, when they asked me to play, I was hesitant, but my daughter encouraged me to do it to make people happy. I was so stuck on making a living from performing, I forgot to be kind. It was great! Everyone was coming from all over the community to listen, dance and sing a long,” Joni explained.
Continuing to pursue her dreams and appreciation for music, she also enjoys hearing about her past students and the successes they have experienced.
When asked what piece of advice she has for aspiring musicians, she said, “My advice to those wanting to be musicians: always practice your craft. It’s hard work and if you’ve got it, use it, but don’t quit your day job and always remember your passion.”
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