‘Wandering Wayne’ entertains at seniors’ centre
Singer/songwriter and musician Wayne Wazny recently appeared at the Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre at Syd Glow Place. The one-time automotive salesman, bus driver and auctioneer admitted he is self-taught but added that, if you are open to it “people will teach you”.
Wazny, 71, said he was a lounge artist at the Balmoral Hotel for a year, but he now enjoys entertaining at nursing homes and for seniors groups around the city. His wide repertoire, accompanied by his guitar, includes Ukrainian, Jewish and Hebrew songs as well as oldies made famous by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Paul Anka, Elvis, Johnny Cash and Barbra Streisand;
The versatile performer, who calls himself an “old-time fiddler”, also plays waltzes and polkas on his sweet-toned violin.
“I play happy songs”, he said and noted that “Who stole the Kishka? is an audience favourite”.
Wazny said he sings and plays whatever he thinks his diverse audience will enjoy. With his pleasant baritone voice and folksy manner, he endears himself to his listeners. One of this reporter’s favourite ditties was his Auctioneer’s Song, which revealed his formidable talent. Wazny was a country auctioneer for 13 years.
The musician still lives at his childhood home in Cook’s Creek, off Highway 44 – on the northeast side of Birds Hill park. He commutes to Winnipeg “because I love to entertain people”.
Wazny’s plans for the future are ambitious. He has written 26 songs, which he plans to record. “They’re gospel as well as love songs,” he said. He felt it was time “to sing some of my own songs”.
In his past, Wazny was a driver’s education teacher and co-ordinator of the driver’s ed program for the Lord Selkirk School Division. He said he enjoyed the job until the kids started calling him “old man.”
Wazny’s parting words of advice were “health is the most important thing”.
North End community correspondent
Freda Glow is a community correspondent for the North End.