92-Yr-old man lives out his dream at Phx Symphony

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When you walk through the doors at Grandview Care Center in Sun City West the sound of 92-year-old Ray Hartz' voice can usually be heard on a daily basis.

He admits, "I love to sing. When I go places people still ask me to sing." His love for singing plus playing the banjo and guitar started at his Iowa High School back in the early 1930s.

Ray tells 3TV, "We started a dance band and we played to the kids to dance to every Friday night." In fact, Ray's high school band was so good he and some of the guys would go on to create a big band called Skippy Lamar. Ray says, "I don't want to brag, but we sounded good and before we left that night I had a contract for three more jobs outside of high school."

Ray would lead the 10-plus piece orchestra for several years until some members were drafted to serve in World War II. While he would continue to perform for friends and family, being able to relive those years was something he wished he could do again.

Kathleen Collins Pagels, with the Arizona Health Care Association, says "In coming to know him they thought it would be such a wonderful opportunity for him to see a big band one last time." Their foundation sponsors a "Live a Dream" program designed to grant wishes to residents in the state's nursing homes and assisted-living settings.

Pagels says, "We had a former pilot that we were able to put back up in the air. We have sent people to visit family with escorts from the nursing home." She adds, "We've sent resources to put Ray in a tux and a limo."

That was all because Ray was headed to the Phoenix Symphony to hear a salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein. He admits, "When I found out I could go and hear a symphony and hear songs from "King and I" and "Sound of Music" and "South Pacific" and a couple others I was delighted, but shocked."

Tammy Soares, an activity assistant tells 3TV, "Having these awards for the residents enables them to have a dream about life and opportunities of wishes they've had in their mind, but never fulfilled."

Another surprise waiting for Ray was meeting the conductor. He says, "I'm going to brag about it until I die." When asked if he would like to be on stage one more time Ray said, "Of course I do, but second best is right here."

Ray had the time of his life. Learn more about the program or how you can help by .