'Good for the soul:' Amid lockdown, residents of Grafton long-term care facility form 'balcony choir'

GRAFTON -- An Ozaukee County assisted living facility dealt with an outbreak of the coronavirus about two weeks ago. To uplift each other's spirits, residents decided to sing from their balconies.

4 p.m. has a new meaning inside Village Pointe Commons in Grafton. It's a time to breathe in fresh air and sing. It used to be a time for independent living residents to mingle with one another, but an outbreak of the coronavirus inside the facility in March changed that.

Several staff members and residents tested positive and needed to isolate. Four lives were lost. The Wisconsin National Guard was called in to help for two days.

"When I heard there was an actual case there, my heart sank a bit," said Mariah Zack, whose father, Dennis Goecke, lives at Village Pointe Commons.

Dennis Goecke

Goecke lives in the independent living section of the long-term care facility.

"I was a little worried, but I know Village Pointe is taking so many precautions," Zack said. "We check in on him every day."

Her concern grew to relief when her father told her of a new tradition born from the hearts of residents -- neighbors singing in harmony from their balconies.

"I kind of got the chills and then was so happy," said Zack.

Employees at the facility worked with the resident and began a "balcony choir."

Kathy Rassel

"One day I was walking by and there were a few people singing," said Kathy Rassel, independent living manager at Village Pointe Commons. "They say music is good for the soul, and I think especially in this time of fear for them, it's been a real blessing."

They sing songs of hope, love and patriotism, bringing comfort to the ears of anyone walking by.

"If I could I would give them a hug," said Zack. "I would, so I'll give them a virtual hug. I ask them to keep doing it because it's making a tremendous impact."

FOX6 News spotted Goecke on his balcony taking it all in. Like all assisted living facilities, Village Pointe Commons is on lockdown for the foreseeable future.

For now, residents use their voices to uplift one another through these trying times, a triumph of the human spirit.