By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY —They are pretty keyed up at the Londonderry Senior Center.
Seniors are learning to play simple tunes on the keyboard, thanks to longtime piano instructor and musician Paul Bordeleau.
Bordeleau has about 80 years of music to his credit. The 89-year-old Bedford man is still an active teacher and musician, leading sessions at senior centers and out of a private studio. He comes to the senior center regularly to teach what he knows best.
“We all love music,” Theresa Swain-Frederick said.
She and Marge Morin are in the more advanced group of players. Five other women were part of a beginner effort on the other side of the room.
“I think it’s great,” Morin said. “It brings music into our lives.”
The senior students signed up for six lessons. Last week, they were learning to play Christmas carols.
“I thought it would be fun,” Bonnie Ritvo said. “It keeps my mind going.”
Ritvo had never played before, but was doing well with “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night.”
“He’s taught me more than the three instructors I have had before,” Swain-Frederick said of Bordeleau.
That’s music to Bordeleau’s ears. He has spent most of his life learning or performing some type of music.
At about age 7, he found he had a passion for the piano. At 14, Bordeleau decided to start a band, playing big band music.
After serving in World War II, Bordeleau continued to teach, play and compose music. He has also produced instructional music books for students and released a CD of his music.
He is well known around the state for his talents and has operated Bordeleau Keyboard Studios in Bedford since 1973.
Bordeleau is an active performer, playing dozens of gigs every year.
He has taught thousands of people how to play.
“I have a lot of former students that are now teachers and professional musicians,” Bordeleau said.
His Londonderry students are fast learners, he said.
“And he has got a lot of patience,” Ritvo said. “He is so good and so patient. But we just love him.”
Shirley Cloutier said learning the keyboard keeps her hands healthy and strong.
“This is like therapy,” she said.
For Bordeleau, it’s giving back a gift that has served him well for many years.
“You’re never too old to learn,” Bordeleau said. “I feel like I’m 60.”