Sredzienski has been a professional accordion player since 1990, and he uses the quirky-though-traditional instrument to make a living and put a smile on his community's face.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, much of Sredzienski's income came from paid gigs at nursing homes and other facilities. He also worked as an in-school arist-in-residence as well as earning royalties from six film and 17 tv music credits.
“It’s a hard walk being an accordion player,” said Sredzienski, who has been playing since he was 8. “I’ve always loved it. I’ve always worked with it and it just took over.”
“But when the virus came, everyone just came to a halt and especially me going to the elderly facilities,” Sredzienski said.
Since then, Sredziensi has been performing small ocncerts in his living room and connecting with all of his former clients via webcam. At the nursing home where he was a regular, the staff carry the laptop from room to room so residents can watch his performances.
“I would take their requests. So there’s a lady upstairs who loves ‘You Are My Sunshine,’ and you play that and make their day,” Sredzienski said. “Anybody from this crisis, they want me to play from my living room, I’m doing that for free, no problem.”
The nursing home residents love him, and the staff continues to appreciate his support.
“First of all, he’s completely engaging, the residents love him, just his upbeat, laughing personality, but he’s so talented,” Katherine Rothaus, the activities director, said. "He may spend two, two-and-a-half hours where you’re paying him for an hour. He just has a comfort level with the residents."