Creating abstract works of art and planning a successful community celebration are only some of Tower One resident Salvatore Garamella’s many talents.
Dressed in their crispest shirts and best dresses, the residents of the Church Street senior apartment complex overlooking the Route 34 Connector threw it back to 1968 Thursday night with Beatles-era songs and macarena dance moves at the The Towers 50th Anniversary Golden Celebration.
Garamella, a Vietnam War veteran and member of the Resident Association of Tower One Tower East, was one of a dozen residents who planned the Thursday’s celebration over a series of months.
Usually this is prom season at the Tower. For the last three years, the complex had put together a “senior prom” for residents to relive and experience a high school dance, many for the first time due their enlistment into World War II.
This year, the community felt that it was time for a change. The old prom theme — focused on dancing and formal attire — was scratched, with reasoning that it seemed to be too constricting for residents who couldn’t physically dance. Instead, karaoke, complete with a lively DJ, took center stage as a new entertainment feature for this year’s spring celebration.
And there was a special reason to rebrand: The Towers is celebrating its 50th year as a model nonprofit senior community,
“It’s a celebration, not a prom,” said Susan Skalka, the complex’s life enrichment coordinator.
Alongside Garamella, Nedra Nobleman, another Tower One resident, was recruited to the planning team for her notable eye for design. Nobleman came up with the gold theme, and over the loud music, explained that her inspiration came from the idea that “50 means golden.”
“It doesn’t matter what you wear,” fellow organizer Bette Kozak said.
“When I was asked about the dress code, I said ‘I suggest you wear clothes!’” Nobleman added playfully.
Many participated in movement-rich karaoke and dance Thursday night. Others belted their versions of “Hey Jude” and performed their renditions of the chicken dance from their comfortable seats at the table.
The room was filled to the brim with residents, family members, staff, and volunteers, all donning vibrant hats and glittering party favors amongst the golden decorations.
Twenty-five high school students from the B’nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO) sang and danced the night away with the residents.
“Many students have grandparents at the center,” said BBYO Associate Regional Director Jennifer Kruzansky.
Ryan Lurie-Amity, 18, and Simon Flaherty-Amity, 16, agreed that it’s “definitely a fun event” and that “the residents love it, too.”
Lurie-Amity, senior president and now in his fourth year attending events at Tower One, remarked that it’s rewarding to be surrounded by “people who don’t get to go out often,” and to reunite with loved ones while forming new relationships.
Click on the video to watch a recent interview on WNHH FM with the new executive director of the Towers.