Couple spreads joy through music for seniors, and others, during pandemic

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AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — A local couple is spreading joy through music during this difficult time.

Twice a week, before the coronavirus outbreak, Tom Hastings and Diana Sampson would perform at local nursing homes. The couple is well-versed in about 1,000 hit songs.

“We feel terrible that we can’t go out there,” Hastings said.

Hastings has been performing for about 40 years. He met Sampson 3.5 years ago. She sang for the Buffalo Philharmonic for 11 years. The couple said they know of the large healing powers of music, especially for the older generation. Hastings’ mom has dementia, and the last time she visited, she didn’t remember her son.

“I went on the piano and started playing all her old songs she liked,” Hastings said. “And while I was playing, I swear to God, she got up and walked over to me and started singing the song, and at the end of it, she said, ‘Tommy that was beautiful,’ like she knew who I was.”

So now, the two do virtual concerts about four or five times a week. Every Wednesday at 1 p.m., they focus on seniors.

Music is the main source of income for the pair. They perform at weddings, bars and other events. They told News 4, they’ve lost thousands of dollars during this difficult time, but know they’re not the only ones out of work. They’re keeping their heads up while spreading joy and positive messages through song.

“Every single show we play, we try to put out the message for everyone to just take care of each other, and to call their family members to make sure everyone is alright,” Hastings said. “And just for everyone to have each other’s back.”

Follow this Facebook page to listen to their concerts.

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