A Backward Glance by Last Year's Senior Star

Senior Star 2010 crown-bearer was Vic Johnson, an 86-year-old keyboard master from Gravenhurst, Ontario. ‘Dizzy Fingers’, his tour de force of quicksilver melody lines and sparkling arpeggios, ushered him to the top spot.

"I accomplished something at Senior Star that made me happy," said Johnson in an interview with RetirementHomes.com. "And I enjoyed the audience response!"

He started piano lessons at the age of 5 at the Royal Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Boris Berlin, who he says, was Glenn Gould's first piano mentor. "I practiced hard," Johnson said. Despite showing great promise, he abruptly quit at 16. "It was the Depression," he remembers, "and I needed to help my family." He went to work and with the onset of World War II, enlisted with the RCAF.

He was rediscovered as a 75-year-old when he auditioned for the Seniors’ Jubilee, a showcase of senior talent presented annually at Roy Thomson Hall. Artistic director Wayne Burnett took notice and inspired Johnson to revive his talent. "My old skills came back," he recalled.

"I'm happy that I returned to playing. It's a beautiful hobby that gives me an opportunity to share my talents."

He wishes the best to the Senior Star who wins the 2011 crown.