Volunteer driver serenades seniors with Sinatra
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - As Carpool Karaoke has shown us, almost everyone enjoys singing in the car. But a volunteer for a program that helps seniors stay in their homes is sharing his passion for the "Chairman Of The Board."
Once a week, Bill Rasmussen volunteers to help senior citizens in the Como Park neighborhood through the Living at Home Network. But he does more than just give them rides to their doctor's appointments. He gives "Ol' Blue Eyes" a run for his money.
"I like the era that Frank Sinatra was involved in. You go out to a nightclub. Women in gowns, cocktail dresses. You go to nightclubs and you have everything there from doctors to lawyers to yes, Indian Chiefs," said Rasmussen.
He started singing Sinatra songs at karaoke bars and restaurants across the Twin Cities in the early 80's.
Now he performs at senior citizens homes and serenades his riders during their trips to see their physicians.
"I sing a cappella. The first time I did it I was talking to the person I was driving. She said 'why don't you sing me a song?' So I did," Rasmussen said.
They say laughter is the best medicine.
But for his passengers, music just what the doctor ordered to ease their anxiety.
"It makes you happy when you are being sung to when you are going to the doctor. You know what I mean? Maybe you aren't going to get good news when you go the doctor," Como Park resident Joanne Jenkins said.
"He's our number one driver asked for. 'I'd like a ride and I'd like it to be Bill. Because he has an amazing voice. He's gracious and it makes them happy," Executive Director of the Como Park, Falcon Heights Living At Home Block Nurse Program Jody McCardle said.
Rasmussen is originally from New York and behind his sunglasses, he has a pair of blue eyes himself.
"People appreciate hearing those songs because they don't hear them too much anymore and it brings back fond memories," Rasmussen said.
But when it comes to helping seniors take a trip down memory lane, he's doing it his way.
"I think doing my singing and helping people relax and enjoy and remember good things about their lives is a great accomplishment," Rasmussen said.
The 71-year-old retired widower has also written several musicals based on Frank Sinatra's music and even auditioned for America's Got Talent. Links to his musicals can be found on his website.
He says he'll continue driving and singing Sinatra until he can't do it anymore.