Pat Dorning

Patricia Dorning

Jim Lea

Jim Lea

Thanks to the Channel 956 volunteers, Masonic Village at Sewickley residents can stay informed and entertained from the comfort of their own homes.

Channel 956 is a TV station available to residents to tune into for event announcements, campus updates and more recently, movies and quick flicks.

Jim Lea  and Pat Dorning are a part of the volunteer team made up of five residents. Jim came to Masonic Village three years ago just in time to use his skills to bring entertainment to the channel.

“I started showing some movies from YouTube, DVDs, educational and historical videos, comedies, local history and music videos,” Jim said. “The residents help provide a lot of the ideas on what we should show, too.” Jim said Channel 956 has the licensing to show the content.

Jim also said that the residents have been receptive to the content, which has inspired him to explore producing his own movies for Channel 956. He’s already produced a few movies with residents and staff, including an Easter special, “Mrs. Bunny Visits MVS, directed by Pat Dorning.”

“It wasn’t hard to find residents who wanted to be involved. We had 13 actors and 10 interviewees in ‘Mrs. Bunny,’” Jim said. “We had costumes and a script, and we spent a month practicing and rehearsing, videoed it, watched it and then edited it.”

Jim added that there is a growing interest among residents and staff wanting to get involved with acting and helping create the content.

“The residents are excited. They like to show off their talents. Some sing and dance, and even the food services department servers asked if they could sing, too. People really enjoy watching themselves,” Jim said.

Jim and Pat devote a lot of their time to the channel by preparing and uploading content. This includes previewing and watching the videos when residents are sleeping during 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Currently, the volunteers at Channel 956 are busy working on bringing programs back and utilizing the occupancy room at limited capacities. Jim said he’s focused on getting into live streaming.

“It will be really exciting when we can be out in the field with access to internet, record and live stream directly to our TV station,” Jim said.

Jim and Pat are also looking forward to keeping residents involved with production to give them the opportunity to show their “creativity.”

Whether the residents are watching the station or behind the scenes, Jim and Pat all agreed that Channel 956 is beneficial and worthwhile.

“It’s worth it when you hear the residents’ comments,” Jim said. “They really like what we do.”

by Katy Shero, public relations assistant/intern