Local favorite Eric Dodge croons to assisted living residents in socially distant concert

ST. GEORGE — Residents at Southgate Senior Living, an assisted and senior living community in St. George, were treated to a special concert Tuesday afternoon from singer Eric Dodge that was meant to help lift spirits and spread some positivity.

Residents of Southgate Senior Living enjoy an Eric Dodge concert, St. George, Utah, April 21, 2020 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Due to continued health regulations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, most assisted living communities have halted group activities. Southgate Executive Director Tom Trump told St. George News those restrictions have including group dining and other programs designed to give them much needed social interaction.

In addition to reduced activities, visitors are not allowed inside the building currently. Family visitations take place through a designated window or via electronic meeting apps such as Zoom, Google Meets or FaceTime, Trump said.

In lieu of all the health restricted activities, staff at Southgate have done their best to implement activities for residents in their rooms or in the hallways, where residents come to their doors and participate together but apart.

The concert acted as an opportunity to offer residents something special and encourage them to get outside and enjoy fresh air while still maintaining 6 feet of social distancing.

Dodge performed two 30-minute concerts – one in the front of the building and one in the back. Large X’s on the ground marked where residents could safely view the show.

“We’ve got plenty of space for a good social distance,” Trump said.

Residents who didn’t want to watch the concert from outside were still able to spectate by opening their windows or patio doors.

Singer Eric Dodge performs for residents of Southgate Senior Living, St. George, Utah, April 21, 2020 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Trump said that due in part to the isolation the residents are experiencing with the changes, along with what they are seeing in the media, many of them are fearful of the coronavirus and what it might mean to their vulnerable population.

“They’re watching the news as much or probably more than the rest of us,” he said. “They’re scared – and rightfully so. They have a lot of questions in terms of how contagious it is and how serious it is.”

Dodge, whose singing career has spanned nearly two decades, told St. George News he has never done a concert quite like the one he performed Tuesday.

“There’s a first time for everything,” he said. “I’m glad to be here outside with all these awesome people.”

Dodge played a mixture of original songs, covers of popular country songs and classics like Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” and BJ Thomas’ “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head.”

All the songs were met with smiles, cheers, clapping and dancing by residents who Trump said love Dodge.

“We really appreciate Eric Dodge. He’s literally one of their favorite performers,” Trump said. “It’s always a sell out crowd here at Southgate.”

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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