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Musician records virtual concert for grandmother’s assisted living facility

Family visits are restricted due to COVID-19. Loveland-based musician Aimee Woods turned to technology to connect with her grandmother.

LOVELAND, Colo. — It was a pretty simple set up: a laptop, a microphone and her husband’s bass in the background.

Musician Aimee Woods added a smile as she prepared to put on a show.

“For me, it’s about doing something to make her smile,” Woods said.

Woods’ audience for this show included residents at the Good Samaritan Society – Loveland Village assistance living facility.

Among those listeners was her grandmother, Wilma Fixsen.

“She’s just been kind of blue lately," Woods said. "It’s getting harder the longer this stretches on. Just trying to do things that will make her happy and make her smile."

Woods’ grandmother moved into the facility during the pandemic. The tight-knit family had to adjust from frequent visits and meals with Fixsen, to the restrictions of a pandemic.

“I’ve been able to talk to her on FaceTime, and we’ve done one outdoor face-to-face, a 6-foot distance visit,” Woods said.

Credit: Aimee Woods
Aimee Woods' grandmother, Wilma Fixsen.

Woods is a Loveland-based musician who serves as the director of a music studio and children’s theater and runs a performance company. Prior to COVID, she had performed once before at Good Samaritan. During the pandemic, she and the facility leadership discussed an idea.

“I had planned a ‘mocktail party’ for the residents,” said Melissa Riehl, assisted living director at Good Samaritan. “We came up with, on the fly, an idea to do a virtual concert during the happy hour.”

She added, “All the residents, they are just missing their families. Anything we can do to get them that connection.”

Woods and her husband Jeremy – who in addition to his IT job is also a professional musician – got to work. The couple recorded several jazz and folk cover songs in their home studio on Thursday, including a few songs that Woods knew her grandmother would recognize.

Credit: KUSA
Aimee Woods recorded a virtual concert on her laptop for residents at Good Samaritan Society - Loveland Village. Residents include her grandmother.

“Especially 'Scarborough Fair,' ” Woods said. “She liked it when it was on the radio. My mom used to sing it when I was little, so it will be fun.”

Woods described her grandmother, who was born in Germany and came to the United States when she got married, as “fabulous, wonderful and very stubborn.”

Fixsen, she said, has always enjoyed listening to her granddaughter perform.

“I hope it makes her feel good," Woods said. "I hope it makes her excited. I don’t need her to do anything but enjoy it. And I hope that maybe it will bring her a little excitement.”

She added with a grin, “She always likes to have a little attention, runs in the family.”

On Friday afternoon, Good Samaritan delivered “mocktails” to the residents and played Woods’ virtual concert from a laptop. Fixsen got a chance to watch the videos her granddaughter made, smiling and nodding as the music played.

Because visitors are restricted inside, Woods couldn’t perform for her grandmother live. Music is one way to stay connected.

“It’s a challenge, but I’m grateful she’s safe," Woods said. "She’s healthy. Those are all really good things."

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