Making a difference: Local singer Colette Hawley performs sidewalk concerts for local retirement homes
By Trent Modglin
Pretty sure we all could use some good news right about now. With all the uncertainty and stress we’ve experienced the past two months, I thought it would be a good time to share some local feel-good stories. Call it a morale boost, if you will.
If you know of someone, or a particular business, that is going out of their way to help others during the pandemic — or just an uplifting local story — please shoot an email to Info@TheRealParkRidge.com and fill me in. Big or small, doesn’t matter.
Here is the second installment in a series of blogs that rallies around all the positive things that are happening and the good people everywhere. Check out an earlier piece about eight-year-old Ella Powers helping out a local food pantry.
Colette Hawley sings to seniors
When you have a gift, you’re supposed to share it with the world. Colette Hawley understands that as well as anyone right now.
The Park Ridge native has taken her singing prowess to several area retirement homes to provide some entertainment for those who are unable to have guests during the pandemic. She’s regularly been belting out tunes inside nursing homes for five years, but strict Coronavirus regulations have forced her volunteer performances outside to sidewalks and parking lots this spring.
“Singing for these people is the best thing I have ever done with my voice. … They need our entertainment, protection, love and continued attention now more than ever.”
Shifting her stage has hardly kept the upbeat Colette from spreading a little joy during these uncertain times. Far from it, actually. It’s not uncommon for her shows to last an hour or two. Have a request for a song that’s near and dear to your heart? No problem.
During a recent sidewalk concert at the Summit of Uptown, some elderly residents were able to be brought outside in wheelchairs, while a handful of staff members enjoyed her vocals from a balcony of the facility.
“I started singing at nursing homes because I have always wanted to do something with our elder population — even as a kid, I took notice of how comparatively shabbily we treat our seniors vs. the rest of the world,” Collette told me. “I had been dealing with vocal problems for years, but still had some basic notes left in my range. Funny thing is, the more I sang for them, the more my voice came back.
“Singing for these people is the best thing I have ever done with my voice. Finding a way to continue doing so during Covid-19 has been fantastic. They need our entertainment, protection, love and continued attention now more than ever.”
If you have a loved one living in a local retirement facility who you think would enjoy a free show, email Colette at Colettehawley@gmail.com. And if you happen to be walking or driving by and see her with her mic in hand, smiling and sharing her voice with those who really need a little ray of sunshine right now, make sure to show your support. She may even sing a favorite of yours too.