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Great State: Longtime Concert Pianist Still Plays Through Failing Sense of Sight

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NICHOLS HILLS, OKLAHOMA -- Virginia Campbell was 4 years old when her mother took her to a family gathering to show her off.

She doesn't remember when she first learned to play the piano.

She just always has.

Whatever the song, whatever the place, Virginia was happy as long as there was a piano close by.

"Right. Always," she gushes. "Let's make some music and let's hear some music, and let me play it for you."

Her actual performing career got a late start.

She gave her first concert in Austria at the age of 62, long after raising 4 kids.

She travels to Europe just about every year now, playing small concert venues and teaching her favorite instrument at home.

Campbell says, "It's a wonderful gift from God. It really is because I don't know why I can do it. I just do it. I know it's there."

It's been a few years since she noticed the lights going dim.

The music on the page grew too fuzzy to read.

Doctors diagnosed macular degeneration, a slow, incurable erosion of her sight.

Her days of accompanying other musicians are gone.

Virginia learns new music now with a special magnifying screen.

"I am very relieved that I have enough vision to see the keys," she says.

Campbell has a full concert schedule set up for the summer.

She is still happiest sitting at a piano bench, playing whatever song comes to mind.

Her lifelong love affair with music is still clear as crystal on the inside.

For 30 years now Virginia has played host to her own piano concert series at the All Souls Church in Oklahoma City.

Her next concert is scheduled for April 27, 2014.

For more information go to http://www.pianoartistseries.com

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