Quartet performs socially-distanced concerts for Plano, Frisco senior communities

Members of the Texas Saxophone Quartet perform a socially distanced concert at Spring Creek Plano April 17. (Courtesy Texas Saxophone Quartet)
Members of the Texas Saxophone Quartet perform a socially distanced concert at Spring Creek Plano April 17. (Courtesy Texas Saxophone Quartet)

Members of the Texas Saxophone Quartet perform a socially distanced concert at Spring Creek Plano April 17. (Courtesy Texas Saxophone Quartet)

David Lovrien’s mother in-law got a front row window seat to his quartet’s socially distanced concert last weekend at Spring Creek Plano, an assisted living and memory care facility.

“She kept cracking the door open and yelling out to my wife to come in out of the cold because it was in the low 50s when we played,” Lovrien said. “And my wife had to explain to her, ‘I can't I can't come in right now. Thank you for the offer, but I'm not allowed in the building right now.’ ... But she definitely saw it and we saw some other faces in the windows that looked like they were having a good time.”

The Texas Saxophone Quartet includes Don Fabian on the soprano saxophone; David Lovrien on the alto; Chris Beaty on the tenor; and John Sweeden on the baritone. Lovrien and Fabian are Plano residents, while Sweeden and Beaty live in Richardson and Rockwall.

The Texas Saxophone Quartet typically performs in Dallas, Lovrien said, but wanted to share music with the senior community while they cannot receive visitors and are kept distanced from one another due to coronavirus prevention guidelines.

“The senior community is especially disadvantaged,” Lovrien said. “They’re really being cut off socially to a greater degree... essentially [being] quarantined to their rooms, they're getting almost no human contact. So anything we can do to brighten things there seems like a really worthwhile thing to do.”

Spring Creek Plano’s two communities are in separate locations on the same property. To play for both, the quartet performed a brief concert outside at one location before moving to another.

The four musicians remained six feet apart from each other while performing outside. Residents inside rotated into view of the performances four at a time, six feet apart from one another, and Lovrien’s wife recorded the performances outside from a distance.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Spring Creek Plano would have small entertainers come in and perform for residents, according to Kelley Addison, director of community relations with Spring Creek Plano.

The community has moved towards virtual and window visits for residents to interact with their families, but have not had live entertainment since restricting access.

“Everybody’s spirits were lifted afterwards,” Addison said. “They’re all smiling and tapping their feet. ... It was good to see because we haven’t had that here in a while.”

The Texas Saxophone Quartet is now preparing for a concert at the Victoria Gardens Nursing Home in Frisco. The group will perform in roughly five different locations around the facility to reach all of its members this Friday, Lovrien said.

“Coronavirus is a huge obstacle for us, and for engaging our residents,” said Valerie Poloche, activities director at Victoria Gardens Nursing Home. “Here at the nursing home, there are several people who stay in their bed or they can't come out of the rooms for various reasons, so ... this is really the only way that I can reach the whole building.”

Reaching out to nursing homes and senior care during the pandemic means the world to residents and caretakers, she said, and music is especially important to the senior community.

“It's the universal communicator,” Poloche said. “Especially here at the nursing home, we have people of all different levels of communication and interests, and music is the universal one that appeals to to everybody here.”

The group hopes to continue performances like these until restrictions are lifted, Lovrien said.

“It's all we can do right now,” Lovrien said. “There's a lot of social pressure to stay home, if you're non essential. ... As far as the guidelines that come from local and state government and what we ought to do and what we can do, we're making the best judgment calls we can. But we certainly feel like this is a worthwhile thing to do.”