Music, family and faith bring Allen to 101 years old

Irma Allen said music has been her life with many in the community knowing her from piano lessons or sharing her talents at a community event.

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At Irma Allen's birthday celebration, the Wadena Fire Department made sure to make some extra noise for the 101 year old on May 8, 2021. Rebecca Mitchell/Pioneer Journal

With 101 years of life, Irma Allen says the feeling is “positively wonderful.” Family and friends honked their horns in a drive-by birthday celebration on May 8.

To share their love for Allen, family and friends gathered onto her front yard after the celebration.

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For her 101st birthday, Irma Allen had a second drive-thru celebration on May 8, 2021. Friends and family were delighted to celebrate Allen with honks galore. Rebecca Mitchell/Pioneer Journal

As a longtime musician, her lessons started in first grade before she began teaching piano to her neighbors in high school—the start of a lifelong friendship with music and the friends who came with it.


“My life has been music, performing it and teaching it, both,” Allen said.

She loves sharing her love of music with the community, such as playing the piano and organ at church. Allen still has the teacher in her, including the note of encouraging people to “play from your soul.” Her all-time favorite song comes naturally: Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata .

Allen was the baby of her family with three older sisters and an older brother, including one sister who lived to be 105 years old. She said being the youngest meant she was “totally spoiled” such as traveling on trips with her dad and “always (having) a horse to ride and a piano to play.”

The secret to 101 years old—besides staying up late at night—is music, family and faith. Besides these lessons she added: “Just love, don’t hate. Be kind.”

Rebecca Mitchell started as a Digital Content Producer for the Post Bulletin in August 2022. She specializes in feature reporting as well as enhancing online articles. Readers can reach Rebecca at 507-285-7681 or
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