BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — After 31 years in corporate sales, John Paolillo reached a fork in the road.
As Yogi Berra would say, “He took it!”
The East Haven native dreamed of being a musician full-time.
“Like I was telling my teacher from my childhood, Joe Tinari, the other day, it’s always been there for me. You know music and my guitar, if I’m happy, if I’m sad.”
Paolillo plays weddings, parties and country clubs. He also enjoys performing at nursing homes.
“When you go into a senior residence and start to perform, [the] first thing you notice is all the seats are facing you,” he said. “People are thanking you for being there.”
One place special to Paolillo is the Ingraham Manor Nursing Home in Bristol. Right now, staff thanking Paolillo more than ever. Isolation caused by the coronavirus crisis means separation from loved ones. Paolillo can’t enter the building, so he has taken to Facebook Live.
“They light up,” said Noreen Schmidt, the Ingraham Manor Community Relations Manager and Therapeutic Recreation Manager. “They see this good, charismatic man and the woman…they light up like no tomorrow.”
Paolillo is playing for about an hour for residents — free of charge — during the pandemic. He calls it a labor of love.
“Absolutely, you know, I think I get more out of it than they do.” said Paolillo.
Susan Paris, a Recreation Manager at Ingraham Manor said she appreciates people like Paolillo, especially during this difficult time.
“Absolutely, because it’s tough for us too. It makes us happy to see them, so happy. It makes us happy to see that people care.”