Betty is a musician and a performer. At a young age, she would listen to music with her family and was encouraged to develop her passion for the art. “When I got home from school one Friday afternoon, my parents gave me a present in a large box. I opened the box and was full of joy and cried happy tears when I saw a red and orange guitar, complete with a black strap. I took my guitar to school and took music lessons from my music teacher.”
As Betty continued to play music, the more she wanted to share her talents with her friends and family. She was inspired by her favorite artist, Neil Diamond. When she was 17, she was watching television with her parents, and Neil Diamond came on the air. He played Forever in Blue Jeans, and Betty was hooked. “Neil was handsome, and he had the most amazing brown eyes. He also writes his music. It sounds amazing, and I loved it,” she shared. Forty-five years later, Betty remains one of Neil Diamond’s most loyal fans. She has a several of Neil’s albums, posters, and enjoys performing classic Neil Diamond hits.
Betty first chose Springbrook for her residential needs 23 years ago. When she moved into the Oak and Elm Community Home, she met Travis Gray, who at the time was a direct support professional supporting residents of the home. It took a while for Betty to open up to Travis and have a deep conversation. However, when they did, they talked about music and their shared interest in Country oldies and Rock and Roll. It was then that Travis learned that Betty played guitar. He politely asked Betty if she would be willing to perform a song for him. Betty was more than happy to oblige—she grabbed her guitar and began singing and playing tunes by The Four Seasons. It has been years since that conversation. Travis and Betty have remained close, and Travis happily accepted Betty’s offer to be her musical manager.
After Travis became Betty’s musical manager, Betty began putting on shows for her fans, and has even performed with the Route 66 Band on a few Eastern Travel trips and played at the Cortland Country Music Park. Betty has always been excited about her performances and still leaves the stage with a smile.
When Betty isn’t performing, singing, or practicing her guitar, she likes to make custom arts and crafts. She also enjoys coloring and meticulously designing and fabricating model buildings. Betty also draws and paints—creating pieces with sayings like, “April showers bring May flowers.” Betty has a shelf in her room that keeps all her crafts, artwork, photos, Neil Diamond CDs, and her DVD collection on display.
Outside of her home, Betty likes to fill her days with activities. She currently attends Dayhab in Hartwick NY, through ARC Otsego, and enjoys her bus rides to and from the Hartwick campus. She enjoys going shopping and getting craft supplies. “I don’t really like grocery shopping as much, though, unless I’m picking up some ice cream because it’s my favorite.” Betty also loves to travel. She’s been to Memphis, Tennessee, where she visited the home of Elvis, the Dollywood amusement park in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Hauntings of New England in Massachusetts, and on a whale watching trip in Boston. One of Betty’s favorite adventures was to Yellow Brick Road Casino. “I enjoyed playing the slot machines and getting my picture taken with the Wizard of Oz decorations. I also really loved the Judy Garland themed restaurant.” When Betty spoke of all her adventures, she smiled and said, “I’ve been everywhere, man,” quoting one of her favorite songs to play by Johnny Cash.
After a performance, you can find Betty at home watching a movie or listening to music with her cat, Clover. Betty’s musical talent and the support of Springbrook have enabled her to continue to perform for her friends, fans, and supporters. “I love my life, what I do, and all the people in my home. That’s what I care about.”