West Kelowna  

Local musician Nils Kelly entertains residents of Westwood

Senior residents entertained

It’s been a while since local musician Nils Kelly has been able to perform at Westwood Retirement Resort due to COVID-19 restrictions on events and activities. 

On Tuesday afternoon, residents were once again treated to a performance from Kelly that rotated all the way around the building in 30 minute segments, ensuring residents on every side were able to join in - either from their balconies, or seated six feet apart outdoors.

Kelly, who keeps up his day job as Kelowna Infiniti sales manager, says he's enjoyed putting on music shows at various retirement villages for the past five years, but it's particularly special to offer it during a pandemic.  

"I just love singing these old songs and it brings back memories for them, brings back memories for me, and puts some positive light into their day, especially times like this we’ve got to give back however we can, so that’s why I’m here."

He'll sing anything from Johnny Cash to Elvis Presley, but says the residents sometimes come up with their own requests. 

"The best thing I ever hear is they ask if this is what I do for a living and it’s actually not, but that’s a pretty big compliment. I grew up with this music, my grandparents loved it, and it doesn’t get any better. I get to know the residents about every few months when I come here and they’ll always have funny requests every time I come and funny stories. We get to talk after the show usually and have wine and cheese and share stories and it’s a lot of fun."

Westwood Retirement Resort general manager Robert Steenwyk says it's been a wonderful experience for residents and helped to lighten the mood during these challenging times. 

They've had to significantly limit activities during the pandemic, and are just starting to bring back aspects of the activity program. Residents are now able to walk around the building and in the close neighbourhood area, as well as go out for shopping or other essential services. 

"With the COVID experience now we’re hosting events in the parking lot and moving around the building to give the residents the same enjoyment as before the COVID strike," says Steenwyk. 

"They love the live music. We’ve probably got 10 different performers that come on a regular basis, all different variety type of music from 50’s down to the 40’s and even up into the 60’s and the residents just love the live entertainment and during these COVID times it’s even been more special."

He says they’re looking forward to being able to provide residents with more experiences like this in the near future as the province moves forward with its reopening plans. 

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