DEARBORN — Unlike the TV show, “America’s Got Talent,” there were no judges or votes for the best performers at the Variety Show at Oakwood Common. Instead, the audience reacted with cheers, laughter and applause that made each act a winner.
Shavon Baker, activities supervisor at Oakwood Common, recently recruited both residents and staff to showcase their talents for an afternoon of entertainment.
Master of ceremonies John Kelleman introduced the acts, which began with resident Doug Whitaker, who sang pop and jazz favorites that rivaled professional crooners.
The marketing team of Donna Brandt, Diana Davidow and Debra Gibson did not disappoint as they marched up the aisle to the stage in military uniform to dance and lip sync to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” a song made famous in the 1940s by the Andrews Sisters. To the audience’s surprise, the bugle boy was none other than David Kulek, finance controller for Oakwood Common.
Tom Kopke, one of the first residents to move to Oakwood Common 27 years ago, kept the audience laughing with jokes and funny stories.
Resident pianist Mary Ann Zawada and song leader John Matthews invited the audience to sing along with familiar tunes.
The audience was awestruck when Oakwood Common resident care companion, Florence Nkata, sang a beautiful rendition of Natalie Grant’s song “Clean.”
A few residents provided their own accompaniment including Marjorie Simpson who played the Melodeon, a type of button accordion, and Stella Rozycki who played popular tunes on a plastic kazoo.
Strumming a guitar, Beth Rager, performed an original piece she wrote titled “The things I don’t understand,” which included a humorous verse about life at Oakwood Common.
“We have so much talent here,” Baker said. “The best thing is that it’s not dependent on age, who you are or what you do, because it’s all heart.”
A wildly entertaining finale by the community’s Employee Engagement Team, dressed in bathing suits and wrapped with towels, had the audience begging for more. The group performed a synchronized swimming routine to the music of the Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss, behind a “blue water” banner on stage.
Team members included Brandt, Judy Antinossi, Shavon Baker, Diana Davidow, Delfina Mauricio, Karen Miller, Karen Palmer, Gail Smith and Toshia Smith.
“It gave residents and staff a chance to see each other in different roles, which made it both surprising and fun,” said Brandt, sales manager for Oakwood Common.