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Living the dream

Musician Stew Holveck pursues his passion in new ways

Created date

June 8th, 2015
Maris Grove resident
Maris Grove resident

Stew Holveck’s parents owned one of the few TV sets in their Wilmington, Del., neighborhood, but he was never really a fan. 

When his parents watched programs like The Ed Sullivan Show, Stew sat in another room with his ear against the radio listening to big band music.

From an early age, “I was so in love with music that I wanted to make it my life,” Stew says. Primarily a clarinet player, he always yearned to be a pianist. 

These days, since he moved to , Erickson Living’s retirement community in Delaware County, Pa., Stew is living his dream. 

That’s entertainment

Twice a month, in Maris Grove’s restaurant lounges, he entertains his neighbors with predinner music. Stew favors selections from what he calls “the great American songbook,” standards by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin.

But his favorite piece is “Misty,” the song he and his wife Jean danced to at their wedding reception.

Stew earned a music degree at the University of Delaware and had a long career as a music teacher, first in the classroom and then giving private lessons. He also played with a Wilmington clarinet group and later with a Maris Grove combo.

Music to his ears

When Stew thought it was time to move to a retirement community from their then-home in Newark, Del., the Holvecks started researching local possibilities. 

They favored moving to Pennsylvania when they learned that, unlike Delaware, Pennsylvania doesn’t tax retirement income. 

They also discovered that nothing in Delaware compared to Maris Grove, which offered more activities and amenities but cost less.

That’s because although Maris Grove provides continuing care right on-site; residents don’t pay for those services until they need them. At Maris Grove, health care peace of mind doesn’t come with a large up-front price tag.

The crowning touch? Maris Grove features maintenance-free, one-level living. Stew’s fingers might glide effortlessly over the ivories, but he’s all thumbs at home maintenance. 

“The staff does everything for you here,” he says. “I don’t have to worry when something breaks.” When their trash dispoal unit died, one call to general services brought Maris Grove’s maintenance crew.

Stew patronizes the campus barbershop and fitness center, and the Holvecks’ bank and dentist are on-site, too.

While Jean belongs to a host of clubs, Stew focuses on lectures and musical programs, especially the instrumental performances that take place in Maris Grove’s Cardinal Theater. 

His digital piano sits in the couple’s second bedroom. When he plays early in the morning, Stew puts on headphones so only he will hear the music and Jean’s sleep won’t be disturbed. 

He can live in the musical moment, knowing that his and Jean’s future is secure, and their six children don’t have to worry about them.