Good news Thursday: Former composer performs classics, Singapore migrant workers get a view of the city

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Former composer, wife host ‘Stump the Maestro’

Peter and Veronica Fuchs sing their original tune “Wear a Mask” at the end of their Facebook Live show, “Stump the Maestro.” The Fuchs started the show last March as a way to share keep connected with family and friends through music. Now they have a following of music lovers from all over the country. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Log onto Facebook and for an hour a day, users can watch Peter and Veronica Fuchs sift through their musical catalog for a happy hour of music. Their Facebook Live show, “Stump the Maestro,” tests Peter Fuchs’ memory of show tunes, jazz standards or movie scores he has learned after years of composing. Viewers try and guess the song that he plays in the first half and in the second, viewers submit a song to the couple to see if he can play it. The majority of the time Peter Fuchs remembers the songs, but every once and a while he and Veronica need to shuffle through their catalogs to be able to play the song. 

The show first started as a way for the pair to connect with family and friends during the pandemic. Now their audience has grown to many other viewers, including some younger viewers who request Beatles songs. Someone even sent them songbooks to learn new songs.  “We’ve weathered this very nicely,” Peter Fuchs told the Associated Press. “Particularly with our show. It breaks up the day. We think we are very busy at our age. It’s nice to be able to make people happy. And at the same time, it doesn’t strain us at all because we’re happy doing our thing.”

Migrant workers get travel vouchers

Migrant worker Natarajan Pandiarajan, right, enjoys the view on board the Singapore Flyer attraction. Migrant workers are getting a bird’s eye view of Singapore, with the public’s help. (AP Photo/Annabelle Liang)

A new initiative in Singapore is helping migrant workers take a small vacation from their work. Dipa Swaminathan founded ItsRainingRaincoats to collect donated travel vouchers from Singapore residents to give to migrant workers. These migrant workers have been put under strict travel restrictions by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Singapore residents, meanwhile, have received travel vouchers from the government to help boost the struggling tourism economy. “There are so many people who appreciate the contributions workers have made to Singapore and this is their chance to give back,” Swaminathan told the Associated Press. “There’s a lot of joy in giving. I think that’s what causes the public … to support us in these kinds of endeavors.” 

More than 20,000 migrant workers were given tickets to go on the Ferris wheel in Singapore that overlooks the city. The tickets were donated by the public and businesses. Ganesan Thivagar visited with his roommates. Despite the rain, he marveled at the view overlooking Singapore. “I am happy to enjoy the trip and enjoy together with my friends. Thanks to Singapore (I get to) come here,” Thivagar told the Associated Press.

Older adults venture out after vaccinations

Two older adults socially distanced, watch a spring training exhibition baseball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles. Spring has arrived with sunshine and warmer temperatures, and many vaccinated seniors are emerging from COVID-19-imposed hibernation. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Older adults are beginning to venture back into the world after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. As part of the first group to get the vaccine, more than 47% of Americans ages 65 and older are now completely vaccinated. Grandparents are finally able to hold their grandchildren, eat at restaurants, visit movie theaters and go grocery shopping in person again. Bill Griffin of Waterboro stayed away from his family until after being vaccinated because of a collection of factors that put him at high risk for COVID-19: high blood pressure, lung disease, heart disease and kidney disease. “Everybody wants to live for the moment, but the moment could have been very deadly. We listened to the scientists,” Griffin told the Associated Press.

Gailen Krug’s top priority now that she has the vaccine is to meet her grandchild who was born in April 2020. Krug has only interacted with her granddaughter over Zoom and FaceTime. “I can’t wait. It’s very strange to not have her in my life yet,” Krug told the Associated Press. Although they are still pressing forward with caution, members of this most high-risk category are finally getting the chance to get their lives back on track.

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