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VIDEO: Musician stays physically distant in courtyard show for Langford retirees

Bob Nelson found a way to continue to play for retirement community residents

A rainy afternoon did not get in the way of a local musician’s performance in a Langford retirement home’s courtyard.

Bob Nelson, who goes by the stage name Robert K, has been performing at the Cherish at Central Park retirement community for months. He has become an anticipated guest at the community’s monthly birthday teas and said he’s gotten to know the residents as well.

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing his indoor shows couldn’t go on. Instead, he set up in the courtyard which is surrounded by five storeys of balconies from each unit inside the building.

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“I was sort of sad when all my gigs inside got cancelled but now I’ll just be outside,” Nelson said. “It’s one of the few places where you can keep your distance … and still put something on so I was really tickled when they called and said are you interested in playing.”

Nelson played and sang favourite tunes such as “You Raise Me Up,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “Hallelujah” as residents sat by their balcony doors and windows to listen. Some residents and staff members even ventured into the courtyard to dance and sing along.

Now retired, Nelson used to own Nelson’s Music in Victoria and continues to spend time doing what he loves – playing music. While gigs at retirement homes don’t make him a lot of money, he still enjoys going because of “the feeling.”

“It’s just so much fun to play and get to know the people,” Nelson said. “You become friends.”

Taking inspiration from other Canadian musicians, Nelson has begun playing live shows on his Facebook page as well and hopes to continue to share music online and at the retirement home.

“I just thought [playing outside] was a great idea,” Nelson said. “I’ll miss the hugs from the residents, but other than that it’ll be fun to play.”

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