104-year-old woman celebrates life through familiar melodies

HARRISBURG, PA (WCMH)–Music can sometimes serve as a reminder to cherish the elderly and their memories.

The popular tune “Liebesleid” was composed in 1911. It was the same year Elizabeth Cohn, one of the founding members of the York Symphony Orchestra, was born.

Fast forward to present date, Elizabeth, now 104, resides at the Jewish Home of Greater Harrisburg.

“Last August 22nd, for mom’s 104th birthday, she was talking on and on about being in the symphony orchestra, said Virginia Parkum, Elizabeth’s daughter. “As a kid, I knew she played violin because there was one at the bottom of the closet, but I never heard her, I never saw her play.”

After a few calls, Elizabeth was treated to a special live performance by Lawrence Golan, music director of the York Symphony Orchestra.

Golan graciously agreed to play the violin for Elizabeth, just as she played for crowds of people in the symphony’s first concert in 1933.

“It’s just something really special that doesn’t happen all the time,” said Golan. “In fact, I can tell you it’s the first time I’ve ever experienced anything like this.”

Despite the fact that Elizabeth is hard of hearing, music is always something she will feel.

“We all speak that common language, so it, music, really does connect people,” says Golan.

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