Deservedly So, a band that includes Mike Earls and Gerry Gysbers, members of Immanuel CRC in Hamilton, Ont., and Fred Zietal, have created an online sing-along concert and song book to share with residents of seniors’ homes to bring some joy and familiarity during COVID-19.
Before the coronavirus pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization in March, Deservedly So frequented nursing homes in and around Hamilton to perform songs for the residents. Once COVID-19 prevented visits, the band was asked if there was anything they could do. Their solution was to create a sing-along video that anyone could watch.
Earls said, “Performing for seniors has always been a passion for us. It’s lonely and it’s isolating at any time; during COVID-19, it’s so sad.” He continued, “For a lot of these people, memory is something that they’re struggling with, and to remember the days gone by is something that they struggle with. So if we can help them with that, we get such a joy out of it.”
Lisette Gonzalez works at a nursing home in the Hamilton area where Deservedly So performed regularly. Gonzalez said, “We were able to show our residents the videos through our Smart TVs in the home areas, and on our ipad. They loved it! We’ve missed the band for so long, it was nice to see their familiar faces. They bring lots of joy and laughter to the residents.”
The online concert consists of footage from previous live performances as well as songs that were recorded specifically for this video. Song lyrics are printed on the screen for most of the various folk songs, so viewers can sing along.
“Our hope is that the virtual show can be seen and passed along by whoever can benefit. That’s why we’ve included songs from all eras, hopefully it’ll bring out great memories and help people forget about these isolating times and bring them back to a joyful time,” said Earls.