Wayne Casasanta ’69
By Samantha Wagner and Baker Maultsky
This article appeared originally in the Fall 2018 issue of Frontiers Magazine.
Wayne Casasanta’s voice is rich and warm as he talks about childhood piano lessons, his college band, and the volunteer work he does now. Since youth, music has featured prominently in his life, allowing him to connect with others and give back to his community. “As a teenager I visited my grandmother in the nursing home and played for her,” Casasanta reminisces. “Many of the other residents would gather around and listen as I played old hymns I knew from church.”
When he enrolled in Spartanburg Junior College, he continued to play the piano, becoming part of a band called the Toy Factory. Together they traveled, playing jazz, blues, and other tunes. When the Toy Factory eventually disbanded, Casasanta finished his bachelor’s degree and started what would become a 32.5-year career with the South Carolina Commission for the Blind. Music stayed a part of his life, but when the Toy Factory re-formed as the Marshall Tucker Band he was not a part of that group.
Today, Casasanta is in the choir at his church. He also sings and plays the piano for patients at the Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home, as well as residents at many assisted living and memory care facilities. Many patients cannot leave their rooms, so Casasanta brings the music to them — playing hymns, jazz songs, and even some B.B. King and Marshall Tucker Band songs upon request. He is constantly aware of the people he serves. “If a patient has just met with a doctor, it might not be the best time to visit. In other situations I am asked to play and patients — even ones with memory loss — sing along.” His music is an extraordinary gift that offers peace, stress relief, and even joy in difficult moments. Casasanta, however, views his work in light of a bigger calling. “It’s not me. I am not the most talented, but God can use all our efforts for the good.” When looking at his life and his music, it is easy to see the truth of his belief.