“Sopranos” star Dominic Chianese has performed at The Methodist Home of DC three times in the past year. He returns on March 19th – this time to pay tribute to a friend he made there.
During his first performance in May 2012, Mr. Chianese encouraged residents to sing along. But one voice stood out.
“Everyone was singing, but of course Mr. Shave sang the loudest and just knew every song,” says Linda Moreno, director of Therapeutic Recreation at the Methodist Home. “So when Mr. Shave started singing, Dominic immediately started walking toward him.”
Mr. Shave is nursing home resident William Shave, whose booming voice had accompanied Mr. Chianese during the performance. When Mr. Shave moved into the Methodist Home in 2010 he had to leave behind his pride and joy, a vintage Gibson guitar – it had become difficult for him to play. So when Dominic Chianese offered him his guitar, Mr. Shave excitedly accepted and started singing Danny Boy with him. Mr. Chianese returned to the Methodist Home twice after this performance, each time enjoying the accompaniment of Mr. Shave.
Mr. Chianese, known to his fans as “Uncle Junior” on the HBO TV Series The Sopranos, is no stranger to nursing homes. He started the foundation “Joy Through Art” as a way to “improve the quality of life for residents of nursing homes through regular interaction with professional artists.”
In May 2012, Mr. Chianese contacted the American Health Care Association (AHCA) to see if they could recommend a facility in Washington, DC where could to perform for National Nursing Home Week. AHCA, having formed a relationship with the Methodist Home earlier that year, knew just the place.
“We have developed a great relationship with AHCA. Well over a year later, they are still sending us volunteers every second Tuesday of the month,” says Moreno, who also says she is grateful to AHCA for suggesting that Chianese perform at the Methodist Home.
When Mr. Shave passed away in February, his daughter Bettie Shave sent word to Mr. Chianese. Initially, he said he wanted to be at the March 19th service but that he already had a prior engagement. Then, the very next day, he called to announce he had cleared his calendar and would be attending the memorial service to honor his friend.
The memorial service for William Shave will be held on Tuesday, March 19th at 2:30 p.m. at The Methodist Home of DC. Dominic Chianese will perform “Amazing Grace” and “Danny Boy”, and will host a sing-a-long following the service in memory of Mr. Shave.