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99-Year-Old 'Piano Man' Lights Up Internet, Brings Joy In Face Of Coronavirus Outbreak

MORRIS COUNTY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A 99-year-old pianist is finding a new way to connect to listeners amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Facebook Live brings new audiences to 99-year-old "piano man" Henry Shapiro.

The recent heart surgery survivor lives with a daughter and son-in-law in Morris County. He is sheltering in place, but his music is roaming online.

"Trying to find songs that are from Broadway shows or hits of the '20s, '30s, '40s and '50s that will please most audiences," Shapiro told CBS2's Dave Carlin on Wednesday.

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At this time of his, when most anyone is liable to fade, he is flourishing.

"I do believe it has a great power in uplifting people," Shapiro said.


He was born in Dover, New Jersey, in 1920. He joined a seven-piece piece band as a teen, served in World War II in the Army Air Corps, and then settled down with a wife and four kids.

Shapiro worked retail jobs by day and played clubs at night.

Closing in on 100 years old in strange times where he cannot perform in public, he said he is not afraid to try new things.

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He has developed computer and smartphone skills so he doesn't get lonely.

And he still mentors kids.

"I recently received an invitation to High Point Regional High School to participate in an internet piano lab program," Shapiro said. "Someone wanted to know how old I was when I started. How long did I practice?"

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Shapiro has had almost a century of practice.

A video from November shows him in one of his last in-person appearances, in Parsippany.

Now he can't see the smiles on faces, but he knows they are there.

So he keeps songs in his heart and at his fingertips, and keeps going.


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