Tribune Print Share Text

Lifelong pianist still graces the stage

Barbara Roshkind puts on annual concert at Linden Ponds

Created date

January 16th, 2015
Classical pianist Barbara Roshkind put on a concert for a full house at Linden Ponds, where she lives. She performed with Eileen Ruby, a soprano and daughter of resident Armand Ruby.
Classical pianist Barbara Roshkind put on a concer

Classical pianist Barbara Roshkind has been delighting people with her music since she was a young girl in New York City. Now, at age 83 and retired, Barbara has found yet another grateful audience among her neighbors at Linden Ponds, the Erickson Living community in Hingham, Mass., that she calls home. 

Every year, Barbara puts on a concert in Linden Pond’s nearly 300-seat auditorium. Residents and staff flock to the popular show, which is such a hit that Barbara now performs two evenings in a row so that everyone who wants to attend can get a seat. 

Her most recent performance took place in November. There was no charge for tickets to the show, but attendees could make contributions to two important causes at Linden Ponds.

“We filled the auditorium on the first night,” Barbara says. “We raised quite a bit of money for the resident care fund and the scholarship fund.”

The resident care fund is available to help residents experiencing financial need (as detailed in the Residence and Care Agreement), and the scholarship fund is used to award college scholarships to the high school students who work at Linden Ponds’ on-site restaurants.

Anticipated occasion

This is the sixth consecutive year that Barbara has performed at Linden Ponds. In past years, she has shared the stage with fellow resident Mary Sochacki, also a classical pianist. This year, Barbara performed with Eileen Ruby, a soprano who is the daughter of Linden Ponds resident Armand Ruby. The concerts are always a highlight of the social calendar at Linden Ponds.

“They really appreciate it,” Barbara says. “I can’t walk through the halls without appreciation being shown and people asking when the next concert is.”

Barbara, a native New Yorker, began taking piano lessons around age seven. Barbara’s brother played in the New York University orchestra. Through her brother’s contacts in the music world, 11-year-old Barbara was introduced to James Friskin, a well-known pianist and a teacher at The Julliard School. Friskin had never taught a child at that point but agreed to take Barbara on as a student, and she studied under him for 11 years.

“I loved playing piano, and it came very easily to me,” Barbara says. “I didn’t mind practicing because it came so easily to me, so I didn’t have to sit at the piano for hours. It was not a chore.”

Barbara attended Julliard as well as the High School of Music & Art in New York. In her senior year, she won a competition sponsored by the New York Philharmonic Society and had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall. After Julliard, Barbara went on to pursue her master’s degree in education at Columbia University. 

She put her studies on hold to get married and start a family. During that time, Barbara taught private piano lessons in her home and accompanied a dance group. She did return to Columbia to complete her degree and then taught music for 20 years in the schools in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Living among other music lovers

After many years in New York, Barbara and her late husband George decided to relocate to Massachusetts to be closer to their daughter and grandchildren. They lived for a while in Brookline and then decided to move to Linden Ponds.

“I liked the size and the variety of activities here,” Barbara says. “It was the best in location for my daughter, so it answered all of our needs.”

While she’s currently the only resident who gives a formal concert, Barbara says many of her neighbors at Linden Ponds are also musically inclined. She says there are many people who enjoy singing, as well as people who play pop music on the piano in the clubhouse.

Barbara has a digital piano in her apartment home at Linden Ponds so she can practice or play for her own enjoyment whenever she wishes. She likes that the sound can be lowered.

“If I get up early in the morning and feel like practicing, I can go sit down and nobody hears it,” she says.