Don Melrose, 76, is a man whose passion for popular music has touched the lives of about 3,000 area seniors with his “Musical Memories Program” that began in 1995. Music from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s, as well as western music, Stephen Foster music, and a program spotlighting introductory verses make up Melrose’s repertoire. Most of the programs are comprised of about five songs for each year in a particular decade. The audience tries to name each tune after hearing about fifteen seconds of each selection. Then it’s time for singing some of the songs and doing some toe tapping! Current events for a particular year are highlighted, and nostalgic items such as 10 cent song books, ration cards and Rotagravures supplement the popular program. Groups from local churches, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other senior organizations have enjoyed Don’s Musical Memories Programs. The programs are free; compensation for Don is seeing the smiles on the faces of the senior citizens.
For more than 21 years, Don has been actively involved in the membership and church recording ministries at Willoughby United Methodist Church. Melrose prepares copies of the Sunday services and makes them available to all attendees of the church.
Don has developed computerized tally sheets and signs for some of the Lake County Senior Centers. Melrose tries to donate blood at the American Red Cross about every two months; he is currently a 23-gallon donor. Don is past president of the Ridge Acres Civic Association in Willoughby which has about 500 member families.
Don and his wife, Renee, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on January 29, 2004 and have four children, nine granddaughters and one great granddaughter.