Rae-Ann residents' video goes viral

lighthearted music video featuring 90-something-year-olds doing a parody of  the iconic Beastie Boys hit song, “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party),” has been viewed nearly 2 million times since it was posted to YouTube March 30.

The video features residents and staff of The Belvedere of Westlake, and was filmed by the facility’s program coordinator, Stephanie Gumina.

“I posted a link to the video on my Facebook page on March 30 and when I went to bed that night, there were about 20 views,” says Gumina. “When I woke up the next morning, there were 800. The whole next day, we saw another 10,000 views, and another 10,000 views, and it just kept building. I really don’t know how it caught fire.”

The 3:35 minute video features aging hipsters donning dark sunglasses and gold chain necklaces, a spunky woman wailing on an electric guitar, a husband and wife drag racing in their wheelchairs, several men showing off appliquéd boxer shorts, and more than a few taking swigs from a bottle of Jack Daniel’s (apple juice replaced the whiskey, says Gumina). Belvedere co-owner John Griffiths also makes an appearance, just long enough to take a whipped cream pie to the face.

The “Belvedere Boys” and other volunteer video participants “feel like celebrities,” Gumina says. “They’re asking each other, ‘Did you ever think that THIS is what we’d be doing in our 90s? We’re all over the Internet!’ They think it’s awesome. They have had a lot of fun with it.”

This is the third music video Gumina and Belvedere residents have produced. “The residents love making them. We have a very interesting group here at The Belvedere,” Gumina says. “They like to have fun, they are quick learners, and I knew they would ham it up for the camera!”

In February 2014, Belvedere residents did a parody of the Pharrell Williams song “Happy.” Last August, they filmed a “senior rendition” of “Summer Nights” from Grease.

She chose “Fight for Your Right” for the latest video, she explains, “because I tease them that I know they are up to no good when the staff is not around. When they first heard the song, they were like, ‘Really?’ But I said, ‘just trust me, there’s a method to my madness,’ and so they did.” 

The video was filmed over four days and Gumina spent two more days editing it before posting to YouTube. Now, she says, residents are eager to get started on the next one. “Everyone is invited to participate; those who don’t want to be on camera enjoy watching us film. But many of them love being in front of the camera.”

Gumina enjoys using her broadcasting background to offer Belvedere residents an entertaining alternative to the typical activities offered at retirement homes. “I studied at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting before joining The Belvedere nine years ago. That’s where I learned how to digitally record and edit videos,” she says.

“This is something different and exciting for them to do that’s not the everyday thing,” she concludes. “We received a lot of positive feedback from the video. We just hope people enjoy it.”

A link to the video is available in the online version of this article at wbvobserver.com.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 9:36 AM, 04.21.2015