What started out as a Christmas card to family living away has turned into an Internet sensation for the residents at Whisperwood Villa in Charlottetown.
In an effort to do something different and fun before Christmas, they filmed a homemade movie set to the music of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You, posting it to YouTube.
Since then, the video has had approximately 5,800 hits.
Peggy Zielinski, special events co-ordinator with the seniors home, said her niece told her about a video that she had seen from a seniors home in London, Ont. Once Zielinski saw it she decided they had to try it.
It was such a hit, they decided to do it again, filming a video set to the music of Olivia Newton-John’s 1980s smash hit Let’s Get Physical.
“We’re having a great time. We do it every Saturday morning and we get as many residents involved as we can, including our wheelchair-bound residents,’’ Zielinski said. “They love it and my niece has them eating out of her hand.’’
Joasia Bell, the niece, serves as director and producer of the videos.
“I planned and orchestrated what was going to happen. (I had) all the seniors singing and mouthing the words and combined the clips (into a video),’’ said Bell, whose husband John does all the filming and editing.
“It was a way for the seniors to send a Christmas card to loved ones that they weren’t able to be with. They have grandchildren out west (and) family that are not able to visit them. We had a lot of fun. The amazing outpouring we’ve had from the community has been great.’’
There was even a phone call from a complete stranger in Stockholm, Sweden, who wanted to relay congratulations.
Since some of the seniors at Whisperwood Villa aren’t Internet savvy, some of the comments about the video online have been posted to a bulletin board inside the home.
“The seniors are able to see the people that they’ve touched. One comment was ‘I was never going to go into a seniors home . . . but if I could go to a place like Whisperwood I would go right now.’’’
Eugene McNeill, a resident at the home who can be seen arm wrestling in the video, said he’s having a blast.
“I’ve enjoyed it immensely. The past few years it’s really been a wonderful place to be,’’ McNeill said. “I can’t say enough about the place. The recreation part of (life) here is terrific.’’
Fellow resident Ron Price, McNeill’s arch nemesis in arm wrestling, jokes that “we did some burning’’ in training for the video.
“We’ve got a little thing going. I pay (McNeill) $50 to let me win,’’ Price says with a wink. “I’ve only been here three years but it’s great. I’ve had a ball.’’
It’s rematch time for Whisperwood Villa residents Eugene McNeill, left, and Ron Price after squaring off, all in fun, in an arm wrestling match featured on a Christmas card video residents at the home recorded for relatives living away. That video has since become an Internet sensation, recording approximately 5,800 hits.
©Guardian photo by Heather Taweel