A ministry of sunshine for shut-ins
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
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
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