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Tallgrass Creek couple shares life’s journey through music

Created date

June 21st, 2011

Music has been an important part of Paul and Dorothy Sollenberger s lives since the day they met and it still is today. Paul grew up in Pennsylvania, where his mother was a choir director. She taught him to play the piano at a young age, and when he was ten years old, he began playing the violin.

A shared love of music

Paul moved to Indiana to attend Manchester College. It was there that he decided he wanted to be a music teacher. And, even more importantly, Manchester College is where he met Dorothy, the woman who would eventually become his wife. We met because we were both music majors, he recalls. The Sollenbergers have been together ever since and will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary next year. After Paul and Dorothy graduated from college, they got married and began to establish their careers. They both started out by teaching music at various public schools in Fort Wayne, Ind., and they started a family. Then one day, Paul says, he received a call from the president of McPherson College in Kansas asking him if he would fill in for a departing faculty member. Paul accepted the position, and he, Dorothy, and their two sons moved to Kansas. Paul built a career teaching music at McPherson College, while Dorothy taught various music classes and gave piano lessons. The couple clearly passed their love of and talent for music onto their children both sons have built careers in the music industry. One son is a freelance trumpet player in the Kansas City area, where he has played with the symphony and the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra. Their other son has followed in his parents footsteps and teaches instrumental music in St. Paul, Minn. In 2008, the Sollenbergers decided to move toTallgrass Creek, anErickson Living communityin Overland Park, Kans. They wanted to be closer to their son who lives in the area, Paul says.

Connecting with music lovers

While Paul and Dorothy are retired and no longer teach music, it remains a central part of their lives. They say that living at Tallgrass Creek has given them the opportunity to keep their shared passion for music alive and connect with other music lovers. Tallgrass Creek s gracious clubhouse features a grand piano, which musically-inclined residents who want to tickle the ivories can always take advantage of. Dorothy plays piano in the clubhouse from time to time. The couple also has attended outings to see the Kansas City Lyric Opera with friends and neighbors from Tallgrass Creek. On Saturday evenings, another resident shows DVDs of performances of the Metropolitan Opera. Paul says he and Dorothy always try to attend those events. It s a wonderful group of people at Tallgrass Creek, and the administration here is great, he adds.