Outdoor concert provides thrill for retirement residence in Waterloo

Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill and other great oldies could be heard live in Waterloo on Friday afternoon (March 27).

While there hasn’t been a lot of thrills lately for anyone, residents of the Court at Laurelwood Retirement Home were rocking out to the sounds of Erick Traplin who, more known for his children’s performances, decided to provide some outdoor entertainment on Friday, on what proved to be a beautiful spring afternoon.

Traplin, along with his guitar, set up a sound system in the courtyard of the retirement home and played for residents who took in the show from their balconies, keeping their distance at this time of course.

“Thank you, Erick, ” one resident could be heard saying, as many who were familiar with the lyrics sang along.

“Basically it’s been a hard time with COVID-19 and all the restrictions that we’ve been putting on the residents, ” said general manager Richard Glass. “They’re not allowed off the property; they can’t have guests in. We’ve restricted visitors to just vital contacts to come in, so this gives them a little spark, a little bit of added life.”

Glass said the home has a good relationship with Traplin and the decision to hold the pop-up concert was made earlier in the week, with decent weather in the forecast.

“It’s outside, it’s a beautiful day, with Erick who they love.”

Glass started in his role as general manager just two weeks ago and said his life has changed drastically, especially following the COVID-19 outbreak. Even with a new job, his days are much longer than expected.

“We’ve been very active, very conscientious with keeping things clean, keeping the social distancing, and sanitizing everything we can every 5-6 hours on a regular basis, ” he said.

On a personal level, Glass’ son lives in New York City, though he decided about 10 days ago to take the bus back to Toronto and get in a safer area.

“Thank the Lord for that, ” Glass said.

As for the 110 residents of the retirement home, many are used to doing their own thing.

“This is independent living, so they’re able to go out and do what they want – not confined to their rooms or under any heavy medical constraints, so this makes it all the more difficult for them, ” said Glass. “You can tell that they’re anxious about it, and we’re all anxious about it. But it’s even more for them because they’re susceptible.”

If there’s a silver lining to all this disruption it’s that a retirement home like the Court at Laurelwood and others will be better prepared to deal with a pandemic in the future.

Management has tried to create the safest environment possible, but a lot has been done ad hoc and by burning the midnight oil, Glass said.

“We will have learned form the lessons so we can do it better next time.”

– Waterloo Chronicle