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‘This is my Carnegie Hall’, Henrico man plays for appreciative crowds

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HENRICO, Va. -- Retirement has never sounded sweeter to Kent Bailey.

Music has defined the Henrico man’s life.

“My approach is a total involvement in a song,” says Kent. “I try to keep young and vibrant. So I get a lot from it.”

Raised on Blue Grass, Kent has written more than 80 songs but the former psychologist gets restless with just playing in his living room.

“I think we have about ten different venues we go to,” says Kent.

The 78-year old, along with his wife Patty, takes his talents on the road at least three times each week. The veteran performer still gets butterflies hours before each show.

“Oh my goodness. Of course,” says Kent. “I’ve never been involved in something quite like this.”

Sometimes Kent is one of the youngest in the room.

“It is one of the most satisfying things I’ve been involved in,” says Kent.

Kent performs at senior centers like Our Lady of Hope across Richmond.

“When you’re 25 all you’re thinking is Carnegie Hall. This is my Carnegie Hall,” says Kent.

Kent volunteers with the group “From the Heart.” The three member group is a musical ministry that staff members like, Rebecca Merritt, says stimulates residents while turning back the hands of time.

“When those songs come on they are alive. They are awakened and energized. They ask for an encore at the end of a show because they don’t want them to leave which we love,” says Rebecca.

“What we are doing when we play our music is that we are going back touching ancient memories that are there,” says Kent.

The crowd consistently delivers their stamp of approval.

“I am really appreciative of it. And I enjoyed it thoroughly,” says resident Grace Traylor.

“I am probably more proud of him than his mother would have been,” says Patty Bailey.
Each exhausting concert at the assisted living facilities lasts about an hour.

“When you realize they’re into it the way you’re into it then it is almost magical,” says Kent.

“I thought they were having a lot of fun. And we were having fun,” says resident Shirley Smith.

Kent and the band may not get paid, but they’re richer in so many other ways.

“It is really nice to know what you are doing really has a positive impact on somebody. And making them feel better,” says Kent.

If you know someone I should feature in my “Heroes Among Us” segment email me CBS 6 Reporter Greg McQuade.

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