Malvern, IA man dazzles community with his music

Posted at 4:46 PM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-18 09:13:33-04

Music has always been a part of Bill Gilbert’s life.

“My mom started making me take piano lessons when I was in the third grade,” said Gilbert. 

Years later, the student became the teacher.

“Well I went to college and took all these music classes and everything.  When I was a senior my counselor called me in and said Okay Gilbert, what are you going to do and I said well what can I do and he said be a music teacher.  That was the only thing left to be,” said Gilbert.

Gilbert embraced his fate, he taught for decades.  Thirty of those years were spent as the Kindergarten- Sixth Grade vocal music teacher in Malvern, Iowa. 

Two years ago at age 83, Gilbert finally retired, but the music didn’t stop. 

At 85, Gilbert is still moving people with his music. 

“It’s great.  Music never dies in people and it’s awesome to see,” said a patron at the Classic Café.

Three to four times a week, during the lunch hour, Gilbert plays the piano at the Classic Café in Malvern.

 “We’re very blessed to have him,” said Alicia Hagen.

Owner Alicia Hagen learned music in school from Gilbert and is grateful her customers get to relax during their lunch breaks to the soothing sounds of the piano.

“He likes to give us something that we truly enjoy I really believe that, like it has nothing to do with him, it’s all for us,” said Hagen.

“What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t here playing piano,” asked Reporter Emily Szink.

“Um, I’d be playing Spider Solitaire,” said Gilbert.

Gilbert says he’d take playing classics on the café piano over solitaire any day. 

“I enjoy playing music.  I don’t just play the notes, I try to play it musically,” said Gilbert.