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Fox Run came out with flying colors'

Accomplished pianist continues her passion in Novi community

Created date

July 6th, 2015
Fox Run resident
Fox Run resident

Two years ago, Joan Schnerer decided she wanted more free time in her retirement to focus on the activities she enjoys most. She was living in a house on a wooded lot in Genoa Township, Mich., and says tending to the yard started to become a burden for her. 

“It was the outside maintenance, the weeds, and stuff growing in from wild areas,” Joan says. “I could weed all day and there would still be more, so that was really the turning point for me.”

Joan decided to move to Fox Run, an Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich., where she would no longer have to worry about things like pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, or shoveling snow. 

Joan says she was familiar with the concept of continuing care retirement communities because her mother lived in one, and that knowledge made her own search easier.

“I had a good idea of what to look for, and Fox Run came out with flying colors on every aspect,” Joan says.

Tickling the ivories

At Fox Run, Joan selected a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment home with a bright sunroom, a large storage closet, and a walk-in closet. She says it was important to her that she have enough space for her grand piano.

Her black Steinway & Sons piano fits perfectly in her dining room. Now that she doesn’t have to worry about maintaining a house that is larger than what she needs, Joan has more free time to play classical music on her piano.

“I love to practice,” she says. “I don’t feel like I’ve done a day’s worth unless I’ve done three hours, but I’d rather do five or six hours.”

Joan has been playing piano since she was just three years old. She took lessons throughout her childhood. After high school, she attended the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in piano performance. She taught piano lessons out of her home and was an adjunct music professor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. 

After she married and had children, Joan earned a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, where she studied under accomplished pianist and professor Joseph Gurt. Joan later received a degree in computer science and worked in corporate IT for 17 years, but she never lost her love of music and the piano. 

Playing to open ears

When Joan moved to Fox Run, she found she had more free time for music, and she also discovered something she had never had—an audience. Joan found that many of her neighbors were eager to hear her music, so she put on a concert last December. She enjoyed performing and says she is planning another concert for this year.

“I don’t enjoy the prospect of going out and finding an audience,” Joan says. “I don’t enjoy promoting myself, so after I moved to Fox Run, I thought, ‘This looks to me like an audience,’ and for the first time in a long time, I started working on a program.”