Walking into The Chatfield Assisted Living Tuesday afternoon, sounds of Christmas music filled the halls. In the living room area next to a large Christmas tree, residents gathered and watched resident Kathleen Fitzgerald play holiday favorites on the piano. Without the use of sheet music, Fitzgerald plays song after song from memory in preparation for the upcoming holiday open house.
The Chatfield, located on 1605 Calvert Road, will be hosting a holiday open house from 2 to 4 p.m. today.
"The Tour of Trees brings the Christmas environment to our residents," said Suzanne Faircloth, marketing director at the Chatfield Assisted Living.
In its second year, the Tour of Trees features Christmas trees placed around the halls and common living areas in the facility. Each of the trees have been decorated by a business, group or individual for both the residents and community to admire and enjoy.
"We have about eight more trees than last year," said Faircloth. "We have a lady who brought by her tree because she read about the tour in the paper."
As the community takes the tour, they will be able to vote for their favorite tree with the top two picks receiving prizes. Along with the tour, Fitzgerald will be bringing the sounds of Christmas to The Chatfield as she plays popular Christmas carols.
"When Kathleen got here, I knew that piano was for her to play," said Christine Oliver, executive director at The Chatfield Assisted Living.
Fitzgerald, 85, has played the piano since she was 7, and over the years performed both classical and popular arrangements. Due to unknown causes, Fitzgerald has lost vision in one eye and has limited vision from the other. Despite these setbacks, Fitzgerald continues to play the piano.
"I can play without my eyes," Fitzgerald said. "I've played so long that I don't need sheet music, my hands just know."
As part of the open house, the community is welcome to satisfy their sweet tooth with the dessert buffet prepared by Casey Rowlett.
"Our residents enjoyed the tour last year, and are excited for this year," Oliver said. "We invite the community to come and vote for their favorite tree, enjoy the music and sweet treats."