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Music from the lot

Cedars continues to bring entertainment to its residents


Kent Larson grew up believing in the magic of music, and he’s determined to spread it, even in a time when he can’t see his audience up close.

Larson, who lives in Stewartville, was at the Cedars of Austin Friday afternoon and all he brought with him was a smile and his accordion — an instrument he began playing at the age of 11 years old after being inspired by Myron Floren on the Lawrence Welk Show. He played a plethora of songs that brought the residents of The Cedars a moment of comfort and joy in the midst of a pandemic that has altered their daily routine.

“I’m glad to keep the music going in this fashion. They need the music and music is good for everyone,” Larson said. “It’s good for the heart and you’ve got to have that connection. It’s important to have music and have them be part of it as we kind of graduate ourselves through the next phase of this COVID issue.”

Pat Bos has lived in the Cedars for three years and she has come to look forward to visitors like Larson. She also appreciated the visit from Cornerstone pastor Dave Simerson last week.

“The music and church make you feel like you can last another month,” Bos said. “(The isolation during COVID) is hard. It’s very hard. You learn to find things to do. I do lots of crafty things so I keep busy.”

Larson normally plays at care centers and assisted living places 350 times per year in the tri state area, but his schedule has slowed down in the midst of the pandemic.

Larson has played fewer shows, but he’s happy when he gets the chance to drag out his accordion and bring a bit of joy to places that haven’t seen very many visitors in recent months.

“It gives me more of a workout. It’s kind of fun,” Larson said. “I still get to connect with people when they’re looking out of the windows and see their faces. Some of them are doing jigs to the music and that energizes me. It’s a big plus to have that eye contact.”