Guy Zimmerman, longtime Audiences Unlimited (AUI) performer and local music legend, is slated to retire from our organization at the end of March 2024 after 27 years with us.

Long before Guy began performing for seniors throughout Northeast Indiana with AUI, however, he was a music icon in his own right, first as a young performer and then as the owner of Guy Zimmerman Music Store on South Calhoun Street in Fort Wayne.

Guy’s music career started early and included a trip to Chicago to perform on television during his high school years, followed by the chance to audition for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, a CBS radio and television show airing in the late 1940s through the mid-1950s.

“Being born in 1930,” Guy said, “I was still influenced by Perry Como and Eddie Fisher— all those crooners. I was mimicking their style at that time. Of course, this was pre rock ‘n roll,” he said, “long before a guy named Elvis Presley came along.”

Another music group from England entered the scene shortly after, changing Guy’s fortunes in a big way. “I had just bought the music store on South Calhoun Street in Fort Wayne,” he said, “when The Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show.”

Suddenly, everyone wanted to learn how to play the guitar. “Timing, as they say in business,” he said, “is everything.” At its peak, the Guy Zimmerman Music Store was offering up to 300 music lessons each week.

Guy sold the shop in 1997, but his retirement was fleeting. “A friend put me on a call with Lillian Embick, AUI’s founder,” he said, “and he and I started performing for them almost immediately.”

According to Anna Ross, AUI executive director, “anyone who was anyone in the music industry in Fort Wayne knew Guy Zimmerman.” His status as a music icon in the community even earned him the H. Stanley Liddell Award in 2016, awarded to individuals who make a vital contribution to art and culture in Fort Wayne.

“It’s been fun,” said Guy. “I’ve enjoyed playing in nursing homes for almost 30 years. It was the right thing to do.”

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