Specifically, the residents created “(I’m Feeling) 82,” a musical parody of the popular Taylor Swift song “22” off her "Red" album. While the idea for the video originally came from Concordia at Sumner Activities Director Emily Dorland, residents at the facility quickly took over. The goal throughout the process was to include as many residents as possible, and by the time production wrapped, nearly 100 residents had helped in some way.
“(I’m Feeling) 82” highlights the joys and occasional challenges that come with being 82 years old, in a lighthearted and humorous way. Coincidentally, 82 is the median age for residents at Concordia at Sumner’s Independent Living apartments and villas. The parody music video was originally shown to residents at the community’s talent show in July, but won’t be seen by the public until the viewing party.
A number of retirement communities have done lip-dubs of pop songs, but not nearly as many attempt to pull off a full-blown parody.
“I started looking through Top 40 songs with the goal of finding one that would have a simple enough melody, manageable tempo and lyrics that could be modified to describe our community and residents,” Emily said. “I knew that we didn’t want to just lip-sync someone else’s song. We had to do a parody!”
After coming across Taylor Swift’s hit song “22,” Emily and the newly formed music video committee knew they had the song they were looking for. The residents modified the lyrics to fit their lives and began storyboarding the video.
Oddly enough, the residents didn’t change ALL the lyrics. Most of the chorus stayed, and part of the pre-chorus that Taylor Swift wrote (about what it's like to be 22) was just too fitting to change, they decided: "We're happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time; it’s miserable and magical."
One of the driving forces behind the video was resident Sue Edwards. Sue and her husband came to Sumner in July 2008 from their home in Circleville, Ohio. A former teacher, secretary and media specialist, Sue admits that she had zero video experience.
“I just caught the bug and ran with it, except for actually taking the pictures, which I didn’t enjoy,” Sue said. “I discovered I loved doing the storyboard, getting the lyrics exactly right, handling crowd control for scenes with multiple people and things like that.”
Since Sue wasn’t a fan of actually shooting the video, she left that task to fellow resident Ed Lasher, for the most part. The one aspect of the process that eluded the residents was editing everything together. At that point, they enlisted the help of a University of Pittsburgh film student, Nadine Carr – who is actually Sue’s granddaughter.
The total production costs were under $50 – the only money spent was for a tube of Bengay and several pairs of plastic sunglasses that were used in the rehab part of the video.
“Residents here are just beginning to understand what we did and they are getting excited about it,” Sue said. “Our target audience was never us ‘old people,’ but the grandchildren and great grandchildren. We hope they say things like ‘Gramma and Grampa, you have to live at Concordia at Sumner. Those people are so cool!’”
Emily said working with the residents on this video was easily one of the most memorable experiences she has ever had in her work as an Activity Director.
“This is truly something we’ll never forget,” Emily said. “I am beyond proud and impressed with how the residents took this crazy idea and ran with it!”
If you can’t attend the world premiere viewing party on Dec. 7 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the Concordia at Sumner Manor House (the event is open to the public), the video will be available on Concordia’s YouTube page starting that evening. For more information on the event, call Emily Dorland at 330-664-1229.