BATAVIA — Veterans watching from the VA Western New York Healthcare System’s Spruce Lodge had the chance to clap and sing along Tuesday afternoon as two performers entertained them with a virtual concert.
Robin Grandin, also known as Rockin Robin, and her sister-in-law, Jackie Volk, played remotely as part of Music to Remember WNY as the veterans watched through technology. Some veterans were moved last month from the VA in Buffalo to the VA facility in Batavia.
“We really did put on a great show for the veterans, even though it was virtual. They all know us, we all know them,” Grandin said Wednesday. “They all clap, they all sing along and they all have a great time. We plan on doing this every single week until they (veterans) get back to the Buffalo area. They need that.”
Grandin said Music to Remember WNY, a not-for-profit, had been playing at the Veterans Hospital on Bailey Avenue in Buffalo since 2017.
“We provide music to the seniors and to the veterans and to Oishei Children’s Hospital (in Buffalo). We’ve grown fond of the veterans at the VA hospitals,” Grandin said.
Grandin said performing in-person is always the best.
“You can’t put a price on actually being there in person and creating that bond between the listener and the person,” she said. “However, if that can’t happen, this (a virtual concert) is the next best thing.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are lifted, Grandin said she would like to perform for the veterans in Batavia.
“When this virus is over with and when it’s safe to go there, Rockin Robin will be there in person,” she said.
Grandin said the VA marketing and public affairs staff she worked with to arrange for the virtual concert have been wonderful. She also mentioned Nancy Kaszynski, recreation therapist, who helps to arrange all the Music to Remember dates for Rockin Robin.
“She (Nancy) really does a fabulous job with those veterans trying to get them more active, more engaged. They were all wearing their Music to Remember T-shirts. We had a wonderful day. Everybody was engaged. It was great,” Grandin said of Tuesday’s performance.
As far as her background, Grandin said she has performed as Rockin Robin for about 15 years. She and Volk collaborate in Music to Remember WNY.
“Rockin Robin is part of Music to Remember WNY. That’s something that I started. We specialize in Alzheimer’s (disease) and dementia patients. I personally played at over 25 facilities,” she said.