And the man plays on | SierraSun.com
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And the man plays on

Christine StanleySierra Sun

The thousands of music enthusiasts who spend their Saturday evenings in plush seats at the Reno and Carson City orchestras attend for the pleasure of music. None of them know why, at 90, Rob Roy Hiestands isnt ready to stop performing.Heres why:Because decades ago, when Hoover was president, too many kids were playing clarinet in the high school band, so he picked up a gnarly old bassoon.He fell in love with the way it felt huge in his hands and with its thick and reedy timbre.Because there was a time in mid-life, when marriage and working for the military became too time-consuming, and the trusty bassoon was sold away.Because during that time, when he produced radio shows for the troops in World War II, he knew the value of music to the soul.When retirement came, and Leslie died of a sudden heart attack, he needed the bassoon, he needed a community of friends a reason to live. Because if he stopped now and let his arthritic fingers and failing ears win well, he cant even stand the idea.If Bassoon Bob, as he is called, keeps playing four nights a week for symphonies, orchestras and bands, he wont be alone, and his heart will be soothed by the melodies.Because its fun to tout yourself as the worlds oldest bassoon player.So Bob continues to practice alone in his Reno living room. And when he performs, the audience sees a smiling man with slate eyes shining behind thick glasses.They dont know the rest of Bassoon Bobs story or that he will play that hefty woodwind until the day he passes on.


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