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Courtyard Concerts Entertain from a Distance

Walnut Village residents safely enjoy outdoor performances

There is a rodeo circuit, the lecture circuit and a Vaudeville circuit. Now there’s a new business niche: the senior living circuit. It is a group of entertainers who love performing at retirement communities. At Walnut Village, this includes weekly entertainment that has been delighting residents (from a distance) throughout the pandemic.

Joe Tatar entertains residents from a distance.

Each week, a cadre of musicians, singers and entertainers bring bright moments to residents during socially distanced “Courtyard Concerts,” where residents can enjoy the sights and sounds from their balconies or spread out in one of three village courtyards.

“Music can unlock doors to happy memories,” said Life Enrichment Director Judi Marsh. “These performers understand that and perform the songs everyone loves. When they visit, particularly these days, residents dance, tap their feet and smile.” Whether residents are enjoying Disney artist Jamie Shaheen, singing her signature tune … Everybody’s Happy When They’re Singing or the eclectic music of guitarist Sean Clegg or Vaudeville-inspired themes by local Orange County legend Joe Tatar, you can count on smiles all around.

“Our three courtyards provide the perfect spaces for concerts,” Judi said. “If residents don’t have views from their balconies or patios, there is enough room to spread out. For safety, the musicians bring their own equipment and have a great time entertaining residents.”

During the pandemic, Walnut Village has found multiple innovative ways to keep residents engaged such as virtual and socially distanced exercise classes, hallway bowling, travel logs on the community’s closed circuit TV station, and “blackout” Bingo, a Bingo game that reveals a new set of numbers over the course of a week. The community’s saltwater pool remains open on a limited basis as well as the fitness center with limited capacity for both.

“It’s takes a lot of teamwork to come up with fresh ideas,” Judi said. “Our entire community, including residents, contribute great ideas with our residents’ wellbeing in mind.”