Rhythm of Life
A former dentist moves to the beat of his own drum.
Ed “Doc” Ferreri has made it his mission to help others. In fact, the retired dentist — who treated patients while stationed in Australia during World War II, before opening a practice in South Euclid — believes there’s no greater goal. “The Lord gives each of us special gifts,” he explains, “and it’s up to us to discover what they are, embellish them, enjoy them and make this world a better place for having been here.”
And, at 92, he continues to do just that. Each week, Ferreri, and two other musicians play a Tuesday afternoon concert at McGregor, the continuing-care community in East Cleveland where the nonagenarian has lived for three years with his wife, Jeanne.
Ferreri had always loved music, but never found the time to play an instrument: The couple spent much of the last two decades logging 85,000 miles on their RV and traveling the globe — from Vancouver to northern Mexico and back. But after retiring to Florida, he decided to take up the drums.
“I never took a lesson,” Ferreri says with a laugh, “but I discovered I had rhythm.”
When the couple’s daughters, who live in Cleveland, suggested he and Jeanne make the move to McGregor, they didn’t hesitate.
“After going through six hurricanes,” Ferreri says, “it was nice to leave.”
But he had no intention of leaving the drums behind. Ferreri, along with Kim Mahaffey, a member of McGregor’s environmental services staff, and pianist Diane Mather, relish the time they spend performing their repertoire for residents. Requests range from songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein to Cole Porter to Henry Mancini — with a bit of the Beatles and Elvis thrown in to shake things up a bit.
“It’s truly a joy performing at McGregor,” says Mather, who served as assistant principal cellist for the Cleveland Orchestra before retiring in 2001. “Music brings harmony and the feeling of community.”
To Mahaffey, who picked up his first guitar at age 11, the performances are sheer fun. “The audience really gets into it,” he says, “and their inhibitions leave as they begin to sing along on everything from ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart’ to ‘Blue Suede Shoes.’ ”
The performances, which often turn into impromptu jam sessions, are clearly a noteworthy part of Ferreri’s life.
“Time flies by so fast,” he says. “It seems like only a couple of days go by and, the first thing I know, we’re back playing again.”