The Symphonic Life: Meet the Driehuys of Brandermill WoodsBrandermill Woods independent living angle

The Symphonic Life: Meet the Driehuys of Brandermill Woods

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

One of the best parts of life at Brandermill Woods is the social scene. Our residents have lived long and fascinating lives, and make excellent companions over dinners and happy hours, book clubs and fitness classes. As an example, look no further than Leo and Henny Driehuys, a Dutch couple who recently retired to Brandermill Woods after a globetrotting life in concert music.

Leo and Henny were born in the Netherlands towns of The Hague and Hilveosum, respectively, where as children they lived under the German occupation. Of those years, they remember being hungry and having no shoes. After the war, they each attended music conservatories and became professional musicians—Leo as a pianist and symphony orchestra conductor, and Henny as an operatic mezzo-soprano.

They met in 1951, when Henny auditioned for a vocal soloist position with the Netherlands Symphony, where Leo worked as the orchestra conductor. During her tryout, he accompanied her on piano—and the rest was history. They fell in love and have been married now for more than half a century.

In the early years of their marriage, they traveled widely. Leo led as many as 100 concerts per year across Europe, as well as recording for Dutch Radio. In 1977, he took a position as conductor of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, which allowed him to travel less and stay with his wife and their two children. There, one of his proudest moments was helping to raise more than $1 million to upgrade the Charlotte orchestra.

Leo retired from the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in 1994. After enjoying many years in Shepardstown, West Virginia, the couple researched retirement communities and settled on Brandermill Woods because of the active lifestyle and amenities we offer as well as the convenient location. Richmond is halfway between their son (a physicist and head of research and development for radiology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina) and daughter (a professional artist and freelance musician for orchestras in Northern Virginia).

Although the Driehuys have only been with us for a few short months, they have made many friends and love their new home. Henny in particularly enjoys the exercise classes in our recently expanded fitness center, and she is a swimming devotee. When not mingling and enjoying all our community has to offer, the couple enjoys traveling—particularly to visit their two children and five grandchildren.

Residents of Brandermill Woods have been enjoying getting to know the Driehuys, as well as sharing their own stories through conversations over meals and social activities. It’s all part of the way Brandermill Woods has “redefined retirement.” Schedule a visit today to learn more about why residents love our community.