MARCH 19,2000

A ministry of sunshine for shut-ins

Sunday Visitor

Bob Rowe developed his love for the elderly early in life, from his closeness to his grandmothers and through performing in his teens for nursing-home audiences at the urging of a nun who learned of his musical talents.

Today, he's a successful Catholic recording artist and songwriter. But he still maintains his first love through Renaissance Enterprise, the nonprofit organization he founded in 1987 to bring the arts and music to elderly and disabled shut-ins.

With encouragement from the late Mother Teresa, Mother angelica and singer Judy Collins, Rowe's team of top-quality musicians and other artists visit nursing homes and institutions across the country to bring joy and song to some very special audiences. No performer gets paid, but Renaissance covers their travel expenses with funds raised through charitable contributions and the sale of Rowe's CD's, "Coming Home Again" and "Christmas Bells," available at Christian bookstores or from HeartBeat Records (www.heartbeatrecords.com) at (319) 835-9144, as well Amazon Books online.

Rowe himself does more than 100 free shows a year in such venues. His "sense of mission", he said, is to give shut-ins their dignity, "to let them know how special they are as individuals."

His performances are filled with that individual touch, as he gets his audiences clapping, singing and smiling with his banter, "corny jokes" and choice of music --mostly old standards and Gospel tunes, but some of his own compositions as well.

"Music has a way of reaching people when other things don't," Rowe said. "How could a performer not enjoy what he's doing when he gets so much love from the audience?"

To make a tax-deductible contribution or ask about scheduling a show, contact Renaissance Enterprises, P.O. Box 473, Portage, MI 49081 or phone (616) 381-4887


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Last modified: 09/28/14