Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Music at Saint Scholastica Convent

submitted by: Susan Sink, Communications Director

Yesterday, while I was visiting Saint Scholastica Convent, our retirement and assisted living facility, Sister Margaret Mandernach arranged for some Sisters to get together and play music after lunch.

This is a regular occurrence at Saint Scholastica. There have always been many Sisters who are musicians, but among the most fun is Sister Ellen Cotone. As a high school student in the Twin Cities, she and her brother played music in night clubs. She knows hundreds of songs, which would not be so unusual, except that Sister Ellen has suffered from memory loss for over three years. She does not remember very much at all-- including how many verses of a song she has played-- but she can play over 100 songs if you only ask. If she doesn't recognize them by name, all you have to do is hum a few bars.

Sister Johanna Becker likes to come out and listen to Ellen play, and she calls out requests-- two by Cole Porter while I was there.

Sister Ellen also does this trick of playing the piano behind her back. Below you'll find her doing her "trick," and also playing "Dizzy Fingers." Could someone comment and tell me the name of the first song?


  1. The name of the first song is "Long, Long Ago."

  2. She was my teacher years ago. Bless her.

  3. The name of that song is 'Long Long Ago"

  4. Jane P. McNally, Ph.d.November 6, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    Just to add some info, the song, "Long, Long Ago" is part of Book One of the classic John Thompson Piano Technique. Probably thousands of children learned it! Sister's version appears to be her own jazzed up, improvised rendition of it. It puts a smile on my face and reminds me of simpler, kinder times.