By Meghan Davy
Lakeshore Weekly News
State Fairgoers were treated to a special performance last week when they sat down to a lip syncing contest hosted by KS95 radio station, where a group of six performers “Partied like it’s 1949” to Prince’s hit of a similar name and performed a choreographed dance.
The show was made all the more impressive by the fact that its participants, the “New Party Generation,” range in age from 77 to 97, and are all residents at Wayzata’s Meridian Manor.
“People see us as a group, and they see that when people are elderly and living in a residence, they still can participate and have as much fun as people do when living in their own homes,” said New Party Generation member Patty Thompson.
Meridian Manor’s director of Life Enrichment, Lori Nugent, learned of the radio station’s contest and that it would culminate in a performance at the State Fair and sent out a message to residents asking if anyone would be interested in participating. The six New Party Generation members responded, and worked with Nugent and members of the activities staff to create their routine.
During the performance, all of KS95’s on-air personalities turned out, in addition to family members and Meridian Manor staff, and several fairgoers who brought a crowd of over 100 to the show.
The New Party Generation won $1,000, a portion of which will be donated to Children’s Hospital, with another part going to a surprise for Meridian Manor’s lobby.
“Lori is phenomenal, she has a passion that comes from within and a creative side for coming up with ways to give back to the Wayzata community while also bringing our residents into that community,” said Marlene DeRynck, Meridian Manor’s director of community relations, about Nugent and her work with residents that includes regular outings, resident and community involvement in events like 50s Fever and Music in the Park, and partnerships like the Music and Memory program, which brings together Wayzata Community Church volunteers and Meridian Manor memory care residents.
Residents participating will be given iPods loaded with songs that were meaningful to their lives, in the hope that favorite music will be a soothing outlet for them in times of distress. “Lori is just very caring, and we are so lucky to have her,” DeRynck said.