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Pair of 90-year-old pianists enriching ears at Chapelwood Community Church

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Inspiring 815 Ila Belle and Shirley

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Ila Belle Kenner and Shirley Hevrin are quite the team.

The two 90 year old's have made it to service nearly every Sunday at Chapelwood Community Church for more than 30 years.

However, you won't see them sitting in the pews, rather hearing them behind the piano.

The seniors have been playing so long, it's hard to think back to a time without the piano.

"I've always been drawn to the piano. If I went to someone else's house that would have a piano, that's where I would go," Kenner said.

Hevrin says it took her a little longer to take piano seriously, but now she sees it as a great hobby as well as chance to connect with her faith.

"We do want to be faithful to the lord so this is our service to the lord even though we are doing it for the church," Hevrin said.

The efforts of these women is priceless for the Chapelwood congregation.

Ila Belle and Shirley are seen as the backbone of the church's music program.

They play pianos at the morning service, at the evening service," Chapelwood Church elder and song leader said.

"We just love their input and what they've done for this church.

The pianists share the same affection for their fellow church goes.

They see every service as a family get together.

"These people are great. We don't have arguments or fights. We enjoy each other very much," Hevrin said.

"When you get to be our age, it's nice to have a church family. It is just like a family to us," Kenner said.

Kenner and Hevrin's age comes with great wisdom.

The Chapelwood community appreciates the message these ladies spread beyond notes on the music page.

"They tell you what's important and I think they do that by their lives and what their talents have been to our congregation and I know they spread it to their families too," Shirk said.

You can find Kenner and Hervin at Chapelwood Community Church every Sunday at 10:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. at 3625 Halsted Road.

If you know anyone uplifting our community in some way, you can fill out a nomination form here or you can reach out to

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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