Our World: Music’s healing power, vitamins this man’s key to longevity

When Robert Charles Wright walked into the bar at New York Pizza and Pasta in North Naples last Tuesday the karaoke DJ bellowed: 'There's the man of the hour.'

The 92-year-old Philadelphia native and retired electrical engineer wore formal attire paired with tennis shoes and a broad smile. He carried claves, or percussion sticks for keeping rhythm, and stopped several times on his way to the stage for hugs and handshakes.

Wright is the most popular guy in the room. He draws people to him. As he sits at a table, a woman passes by and puts her hand on his shoulder to say hello. A middle-aged man invites himself to sit down next to Wright, holds his hand and leans in close. He says something inaudible over a karaoke performer crooning behind them. He then stood up and said: 'I love this guy,' before walking away.

Wright said he started singing after his wife of 62 years, Ann, passed away in 2000.

'I didn't know what to do,' Wright said. 'I've been alone ever since.'

Wright said he decided to learn how to sing and play the claves to pass the time. He joined the church choir too. He now chalks up his longevity to his vitamin regiment and the healing power of music.

'That's what keeps me alive,' Wright said. 'I want to dance. I want to be happy all my life. I want to make other people happy. And I do.'

You can find Wright most Tuesday nights perched on a chair next to the DJ at New York Pizza and Pasta. When he's not singing, he quietly accompanies the other performers with the claves, tapping the sticks to the beat.

Marie Rotunda, an avid karaoke singer from North Naples, says she first met Wright a year and a half ago while she was singing Van Morrison's 'Have I told you lately that I love you.'

As she sang, she noticed an elderly man sitting in a chair against the wall in front of her, keeping rhythm with two black sticks, swaying to the music, acting like the song was for him.

So Rotunda responded and started singing to him, and Wright leaned in and soaked i

Photo by TRISTAN SPINSKI // Buy this photo

When Robert Charles Wright walked into the bar at New York Pizza and Pasta in North Naples last Tuesday the karaoke DJ bellowed: "There's the man of the hour." The 92-year-old Philadelphia native and retired electrical engineer wore formal attire paired with tennis shoes and a broad smile. He carried claves, or percussion sticks for keeping rhythm, and stopped several times on his way to the stage for hugs and handshakes. Wright is the most popular guy in the room. He draws people to him. As he sits at a table, a woman passes by and puts her hand on his shoulder to say hello. A middle-aged man invites himself to sit down next to Wright, holds his hand and leans in close. He says something inaudible over a karaoke performer crooning behind them. He then stood up and said: "I love this guy," before walking away. Wright said he started singing after his wife of 62 years, Ann, passed away in 2000. "I didn't know what to do," Wright said. "I've been alone ever since." Wright said he decided to learn how to sing and play the claves to pass the time. He joined the church choir too. He now chalks up his longevity to his vitamin regiment and the healing power of music. "That's what keeps me alive," Wright said. "I want to dance. I want to be happy all my life. I want to make other people happy. And I do." You can find Wright most Tuesday nights perched on a chair next to the DJ at New York Pizza and Pasta. When he's not singing, he quietly accompanies the other performers with the claves, tapping the sticks to the beat. Marie Rotunda, an avid karaoke singer from North Naples, says she first met Wright a year and a half ago while she was singing Van Morrison's "Have I told you lately that I love you." As she sang, she noticed an elderly man sitting in a chair against the wall in front of her, keeping rhythm with two black sticks, swaying to the music, acting like the song was for him. So Rotunda responded and started singing to him, and Wright leaned in and soaked i

When Robert Charles Wright walked into the bar at New York Pizza and Pasta in North Naples last Tuesday the karaoke DJ bellowed: 'There's the man of the hour.'

The 92-year-old Philadelphia native and retired electrical engineer wore formal attire paired with tennis shoes and a broad smile. He carried claves, or percussion sticks for keeping rhythm, and stopped several times on his way to the stage for hugs and handshakes.

Wright is the most popular guy in the room. He draws people to him. As he sits at a table, a woman passes by and puts her hand on his shoulder to say hello. A middle-aged man invites himself to sit down next to Wright, holds his hand and leans in close. He says something inaudible over a karaoke performer crooning behind them. He then stood up and said: 'I love this guy,' before walking away.

Wright said he started singing after his wife of 62 years, Ann, passed away in 2000.

'I didn't know what to do,' Wright said. 'I've been alone ever since.'

Wright said he decided to learn how to sing and play the claves to pass the time. He joined the church choir too. He now chalks up his longevity to his vitamin regiment and the healing power of music.

'That's what keeps me alive,' Wright said. 'I want to dance. I want to be happy all my life. I want to make other people happy. And I do.'

You can find Wright most Tuesday nights perched on a chair next to the DJ at New York Pizza and Pasta. When he's not singing, he quietly accompanies the other performers with the claves, tapping the sticks to the beat.

Marie Rotunda, an avid karaoke singer from North Naples, says she first met Wright a year and a half ago while she was singing Van Morrison's 'Have I told you lately that I love you.'

As she sang, she noticed an elderly man sitting in a chair against the wall in front of her, keeping rhythm with two black sticks, swaying to the music, acting like the song was for him.

So Rotunda responded and started singing to him, and Wright leaned in and soaked i

Photo by TRISTAN SPINSKI // Buy this photo

When Robert Charles Wright walked into the bar at New York Pizza and Pasta in North Naples last Tuesday the karaoke DJ bellowed: "There's the man of the hour." The 92-year-old Philadelphia native and retired electrical engineer wore formal attire paired with tennis shoes and a broad smile. He carried claves, or percussion sticks for keeping rhythm, and stopped several times on his way to the stage for hugs and handshakes. Wright is the most popular guy in the room. He draws people to him. As he sits at a table, a woman passes by and puts her hand on his shoulder to say hello. A middle-aged man invites himself to sit down next to Wright, holds his hand and leans in close. He says something inaudible over a karaoke performer crooning behind them. He then stood up and said: "I love this guy," before walking away. Wright said he started singing after his wife of 62 years, Ann, passed away in 2000. "I didn't know what to do," Wright said. "I've been alone ever since." Wright said he decided to learn how to sing and play the claves to pass the time. He joined the church choir too. He now chalks up his longevity to his vitamin regiment and the healing power of music. "That's what keeps me alive," Wright said. "I want to dance. I want to be happy all my life. I want to make other people happy. And I do." You can find Wright most Tuesday nights perched on a chair next to the DJ at New York Pizza and Pasta. When he's not singing, he quietly accompanies the other performers with the claves, tapping the sticks to the beat. Marie Rotunda, an avid karaoke singer from North Naples, says she first met Wright a year and a half ago while she was singing Van Morrison's "Have I told you lately that I love you." As she sang, she noticed an elderly man sitting in a chair against the wall in front of her, keeping rhythm with two black sticks, swaying to the music, acting like the song was for him. So Rotunda responded and started singing to him, and Wright leaned in and soaked i

When Robert Charles Wright walked into the bar at New York Pizza and Pasta in North Naples last Tuesday, the karaoke deejay bellowed, “There’s the man of the hour.”

The 92-year-old Philadelphia native and retired electrical engineer wore formal attire paired with tennis shoes and a broad smile. He carried claves, or percussion sticks, for keeping rhythm, and stopped several times on his way to the stage for hugs and handshakes.

Wright is the most popular guy in the room. He draws people to him. As he sits at a table, a woman passes by and puts her hand on his shoulder to say hello. A middle-aged man invites himself to sit down next to Wright, holds his hand and leans in close. He says something inaudible over a karaoke performer crooning behind them. He then stood up and said, “I love this guy,” before walking away.

Wright said he started singing after his wife of 62 years, Ann, passed away in 2000.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Wright said. “I’ve been alone ever since.”

Wright said he decided to learn how to sing and play the claves to pass the time. He joined the church choir too. He now chalks up his longevity to his vitamin regiment and the healing power of music.

“That’s what keeps me alive,” Wright said. “I want to dance. I want to be happy all my life. I want to make other people happy. And I do.”

You can find Wright most Tuesday nights perched on a chair next to the deejay at New York Pizza and Pasta. When he’s not singing, he quietly accompanies the other performers with the claves, tapping the sticks to the beat.

Marie Rotunda, an avid karaoke singer from North Naples, says she first met Wright a year and a half ago while she was singing Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately.”

As she sang, she noticed an elderly man sitting in a chair against the wall in front of her, keeping rhythm with two black sticks, swaying to the music, acting like the song was for him.

So Rotunda responded and started singing to him, and Wright leaned in and soaked it up.

“He took my heart away,” Rotunda said. “What really got me was his rhythm.”

At the end of the song they introduced themselves and have been friends ever since.

Rotunda said she admires Wright for his lust for life, and his “wanting to be a part of this world and not shutting himself in.”

“During season people wait for him and clap when he arrives,” Rotunda said. “They get inspired by him. They want to be close to him because you know what? He knows how to live. He’s a free soul.”

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Connect with Tristan Spinski at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tristin-spinski/.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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