Seniors post nostalgic video
By Kevin Dye
They are called the “Greatest Generation” for their determination and grit during challenging economic times and for sacrifice and duty, not only to their country but the world at large during very dark times.
The “Greatest Generation” was a term coined by NBC news broadcaster Tom Brokaw for those Americans who grew up and endured the Great Depression in the 1930s and went on to serve their country in World War II in the 1940s. Today, many of those Americans are in the twilight of their lives while our nation has grown and prospered on the foundation they built after the end of the “war to end all wars.”
This year the Madison Senior Living Community in London decided to use the theme of the “Greatest Generation” as the subject matter for their annual Christmas video project as a dedication to many of those generation members who now call Madison Senior Living their home. The annual project is a Christmas card to the residents’ families. The finished project can be accessed via YouTube by searching for Madison Sr. Living Community The Greatest Generation.
The senior project was spearheaded by Activities Director Mary Richey, with the help of the Tolles Career & Technical Center’s Digital Media Production Program. Tolles students came into Madison Senior Living for a day of shooting video and then they took the raw footage back to the school for editing for the final project.
“Last year after the Buckeye themed video, I thought the only thing that could top this would be something patriotic,” Richey said. “I chose the theme of the Greatest Generation to show how special this group of individuals are and what they have lived through and what they accomplished.”
With the help of local historian Earl Ballenger, Richey was able to include an impressive array of historical photographs for the project that revealed a London, Ohio of a bygone era. The photographs reveal a different type of town with many historic landmarks that have faded away through the decades since.
“I went to the historical society one day to see if I could use fun antique items to include in the project,” Richey said. “Earl said he had just what I needed for our project and he brought me a disc with over a thousand photographs to use, with permission, for the project.”
The video not only illustrates some of London’s history, but it also highlights some of the personal history of the Madison Senior Living residents.
“If you watch carefully you will notice that most of the live shots of the residents were followed by an older photograph when they were young,” Richey said. “Every time you see a picture following a face it is of that person. Not everyone had an old photograph, but I was able to tie in a photo from the past of London that had meaning in their life. Dot Hunter gave me a picture of her and her husband Jim and then the next photo is of the Creamery building because her husband had his insurance business there for many years. The live shot of Nancy Silvers is followed by a London High School baseball game photo because her husband Dick Silvers was a baseball coach for the high school.”
Of the many resident’s photographs that are included in the video is a beautiful, casual photograph of resident Jane Judy. Sadly, she passed away before the video was finished, but Richey just loved her photograph and she questioned the other residents to see how they felt about Jane’s photograph being included after her passing. Everyone loved the photo also and agreed to have it the final video. The photograph was also included in the Christmas card that Richey designed to send out to families and friends to inform them of the video project.
Richey wanted music that had the flair and style of the 1930s and ’40s for the sound backing the video, but that turned out to be quite challenging and quite expensive. All music that is used in any video on YouTube must have the permission of the artist or it cannot be aired.
“Last year we did the Buckeye Ooo Mow Mow Lip Dub and we had Buckeye Blend’s permission to use their music for the video,” Richey said. “I was looking to use music from the World War II era, but the rights for the music turned out to be expensive. I looked into using some Benny Goodman music, but the fee to use the rights for one year was $8,000.”
What Richey found instead fit not only the needs of the video project, but her budget also. Her pastor’s daughter is a college student studying in Illinois and he suggested that his daughter might be able to help her with the musical dilemma.
“Ashley (Sarver) called me at 8 p.m. on Sunday night and asked what I needed,” Richey said. “I told her I was looking for music from the World War II era. She suggested something that had an Andrews Sisters type of sound and she went to work on it that Sunday night. She is incredible and very talented and she created this in her dorm room at college on an iPad. She did all of the harmonies herself to sound like the Andrew Sisters. She finished it and sent it to us by 1 p.m. on that Monday and then sent me a finished version called Dear Jimmy, by Wednesday and gave us the rights so we could use it on YouTube.”
The video is really two parts, with the latter half showing photos featuring all of the events and activities that took place at Madison Senior Living in 2012.
“It’s a Christmas project for the residents’ families and this gives them an idea of the fun events that we had in 2012,” Richey said. “I contacted Jason Gray, a popular Christian artist, and he gave us the rights to use his song Good To Be Alive to use in the video.”
Richey said that this year’s video project could not have been done without the help and hard work of the Tolles Digital Media Production Program students and instructor Steve Neumann. She also wanted a longer video to detail the lives of the residents, but a new YouTube restriction of 15 minutes limited her output. It did not limit her personal vision for the project, which the students helped her to achieve.
“Allie Smith (student producer/editor) and the rest of the students really put their heart and soul into this project and so did their instructor Steve Neumann,” Richey said. “The kids really worked hard on editing the footage and including all of the photographs that we selected.”
The unveiling of the final video came at the resident’s Christmas party at the end of December and Richey was anxious to see the reactions of the residents as they watched.
“I wanted the feel of what life in London was like when they were that age,” Richey said. “We showed it at their party and they just loved it. They watched it over and over and over. It is really representative of all the fun we had last year.”
The video ends with artistic backdrops of antiques that were loaned by Tim Wilson for the project as the video takes the opportunity to thank everyone who helped and was involved in the project. One of the more touching thank you’s went to Madison Senior Living’s parent company Chancellor Health and the message says a lot about the staff’s commitment to the residents who call Madison Senior Living their home:
A special thanks to Chancellor Health Partners…for creating a place in which our staff has the freedom to make a difference, which allows us to give life to our resident’s years, not just years to their life.