It makes a big difference for them when they know people are thinking about them.Lakeview Manor Executive Director Libby Kessler
SPRINGFIELD — “Elvis” wowed a crowd at Lakeview Manor on Thursday despite being unable to enter the building.
Pat Kennedy imitated the King of Rock ’n’ Roll in a grassy area near a window as residents of the senior living facility watched from inside.
“The joy that it brings is unbelievable,” Kennedy said while sporting a black pompadour and rhinestone-covered jumpsuit. “I love these residents at Lakeview. They are the most special group.”
Kennedy, 73, is a contemporary of her audience. She said she was in the Clyo Homemakers Club with one member and competed in a senior pageant with another.
“And I’ve still got a hunka, hunka burning love,” she said with a laugh and swirl of her hips.
Kennedy’s goal was to brighten the residents’ day. They have been unable to receive visitors for more than three weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Their whole worlds have been turned upside down,” Lakeview Manor Executive Director Libby Kessler said. “We are trying to do anything we can to bring some joy to them and make their lives as easy as possible. We are trying to keep things as normal for them as possible.”
The residents were entertained regularly before the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place for their safety.
“We had people come every week,” Kessler said. “It makes a big difference for them when they know people are thinking about them.”
Kennedy’s concert opened with a dramatic rendition of “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” the same song Presley used to kick off his concerts.
Right before she turned her CD player on, she shouted, “Let’s wake this place up!”
Kennedy’s show featured a lip-synched version of “All Shook Up.” She filled breaks in the music with a powerful grunt that would have made Elvis proud.
Near the end of her performance, Kennedy danced with an Effingham Herald photographer, employed a puppet and flashed a sign to remind the residents to wash their hands.
Kennedy also revealed a sign that said “God loves you.” Then she closed with a prayer for Lakeview Manor's residents and its staff, and world leaders battling COVID-19.
“We know, Lord, that all this is in Your hands and that You are a mighty God,” she said. “Just help us get through this.”
While packing up her gear, Kennedy told the audience that she waffled before settling on Elvis for Thursday’s show.
“I couldn’t decide what kind of character I was going to bring y’all today but I will come back as another looney tooney soon,” she joked.
Kennedy mimics more than 100 characters, including Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady.”
Who knows who will be next to appear at L:akeview Manor?
“You name it. I’ve done it,” she said. “It’s a gift that God has given me — to bring a little joy and laughter.”