Seniors — over 100 of them — at the Kingsdale Retirement Home got their own personal concert on Friday, performed by Mark Mcdonell from AMBUSH, a popular local band, in an effort to lift their spirits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was not your average concert, but during a global pandemic, it was the new normal.
McDonell, said to be one of the senior’s favourite artists, sang for them outside while most of them watched from inside. Several people weren’t afraid to ask him to play their favourite songs.
McDonnell made his way around the entire Kingsdale Retirement Home, encouraging residents to dance their way through an incredibly difficult time.
The singer managed to lift the spirits of many seniors from a distance, singing classics from Johnny Cash and the Beatles.
“Usually I’m in a band called AMBUSH,” McDonnell said at the impromptu concert, “but today I’m cowboy Mark and I’m glad to be here.”
As seniors are vulnerable to catching COVID-19, Kingsdale staff have had to confine residents to their rooms in order to follow social distancing guidelines encouraged by the federal and provincial government.
McDonell understands how the pandemic has shifted some senior’s daily schedules, which is why he thought paying them another visit would be a good idea.
But despite the need for physical distancing at the retirement home, staff at Kingsdale say that their residents are coping fairly well to being isolated from others.
“Since we’re only allowing essential visitors in at this time we thought it would be a great idea to have an entertainer they love to come and entertain them from the outside,” said Nicky Craig, the senior executive director at Kingsdale.
Craig said the staff are also grateful to have McDonell pay them a visit, as they say he tends to spark joy.
McDonell plans to continue to come back to visit the Kingsdale residents, even if it means keeping his distance.