No doubt about it, Marge Dreayer is a mensch. Her volunteer work with Jewish Pavilion channels her talent and passion for music into improving the lives of our elders, and the result is joyous and life-affirming. Formerly a professional singer, this volunteer extraordinaire — who still has a beautiful voice — instituted the popular sing-along in the weekly Savannah Court Happy Hour. She also visits residents at several care facilities. Jewish Pavilion honored her longstanding commitment to the organization on Sept. 21 in Apopka.
Q: How did your commitment to the Jewish community develop?
A: I’m from Detroit and moved to Orlando in 1948. My wonderful husband, Al, passed away seven years ago. He was a traveling salesman, so we relocated to Orlando for its central location. When we arrived 62 years ago, there were only around 100 Jewish families living here. My husband and I were founders of Temple Israel.
Through the years, I performed in 17 musical comedies at the Orange Blossom Playhouse and sang with the Orlando Symphony Orchestra. I also served as vice president of programming for the sisterhood, and alternately, for Hadassah, using my show business contacts to book entertainment. Sometimes I’d bring in my mother, a professional Jewish storyteller then living in Miami, to perform in a program.
Q: So you brought your passion and talent for music to the Jewish community?
A: My involvement with Jewish Pavilion followed naturally. I still love to sing, and it’s just so emotionally rewarding to see Savannah Court residents having fun singing golden oldies. They look forward to our visits — they’re excited to see us when we arrive. We pass out song sheets and sometimes have piano accompaniment and other times sing a capella.
Q: What do you love?
A: I love my wonderful children, Irene, Barry and Jojo. And I love my special friends. I’m passionate about the arts, especially dance, and feel lost when I’m not reading a good book.
Q: What motivates you to volunteer?
A: My parents actively supported the Detroit Jewish community, and I’m proud to say all my children are committed to making their communities better places. So volunteering is a family tradition. It’s a great feeling to enhance the lives of our elderly and include them in our community. When our weekly party at Savannah Court is over, the residents hug and kiss us, and I know we’ve lifted their spirits. I feel so joyful as I drive away from these visits.
—Courtesy of Jewish Pavilion