Many encores for 'Musical Man'

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Don Worke
Don Worke

When Don Worke was 10 years old, he made a deal that would send him on a musical journey lasting almost 80 years.

Worke was hospitalized with a severe ear infection and received a visit from one of his neighbors. That neighbor happened to have an accordion that Worke had long admired — and a proposition. If Worke focused on getting well and leaving the hospital, the accordion would be his.

“So I hurried up and got out of there,” Worke says. “That's how it all started.” 

Worke has never had a formal accordion lesson, instead teaching himself songs by ear. Playing just came naturally, he says. 

Now 89, he has earned the nickname “Good Sam Musical Man” at Good Samaritan Society in Albert Lea, MN, where he has lived for three years.

Worke regularly performs during birthday parties, coffee hours and mealtimes at the post-acute care community. Polkas, waltzes, country music and fox trots are just some of the selections in his expansive musical repertoire.

“No rock and roll, though,” he's quick to point out. 

The audience feedback has been good, Good Samaritan's resident Musical Man says.“It seems like they like it,” Worke adds with a laugh. “Otherwise, they wouldn't ask me back!”