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Senior citizens connect in socially-distanced sing-along

A music teacher found a creative way to bring seniors together, while apart, at the Kenwood in Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS — It's been a lonely couple of months for many senior citizens, who haven't been able to have visitors to keep them company.

But music teacher Joey Clark has found a creative way to connect with the seniors at The Kenwood in Minneapolis, through music.

"I've been looking for ways to connect with seniors throughout this pandemic," Clark said. "Part of my job is to normally teach music at senior homes. I thought, if I can't see them face to face up close in a classroom then maybe I can see them face-to-face from a distance outside."

So Clark leads the seniors in song, from the street below their windows.

"I can see them, I can see them moving and dancing ... in their windows," Clark said. "A couple of them are able to make their way out to the courtyard right above me and so they peak their heads over the little wall."

"Joey is a ray of sunshine," said Kenwood resident Katherine Doepke. "We just love him."

"The first time I saw their faces again and could hear them yelling back at me ... it was hard to not cry while I was singing," Clark said.

"People feel free to sing out when you're up in your apartment with the window open, no one else can hear you, so, you know, that makes a difference," Doepke said. "Being older, we were not used to going out a lot, but just the idea of it that you were locked in, you couldn't go out ... it's been a little rough some days."

"Music reaches into, I could say, your soul, reaches into your emotions and helps you through many a hard time," she added.

"It's connection, it's an expression of feeling and it's an ability to share your voice with the world ," Clark said. "It's giving a voice to people who have been silenced and who have been shut away by society in a lot of ways. They express a lot of joy and I express it right back at them."

"People are looking for complicated answers to our questions and sometimes the answer is really simple," Clark added. "This simple answer is just go outside someone's window and sing along with them."

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