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Musical couple finds harmony at Maris Grove

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January 16th, 2015
In warmer months, Valerie and Phil Hoffman enjoy the colorful summer blooms in her garden adjacent to their patio at Maris Grove.
In warmer months, Valerie and Phil Hoffman enjoy t

When Valerie and Phil Hoffman moved the short distance from Media, Pa., to EricksonLiving’s retirement community in Delaware County five years ago, they found the best of both worlds.

With a campus rich in amenities that include a fitness center and a full-service medical center, a 24/7 security team, and a maintenance team that’s prompt, proficient, and professional in dealing with household repairs or replacements, their lives definitely became more carefree.

But with that lifestyle change for the better, their music-centered activities have changed very little. The Hoffmans maintain their long association with Media’s Rose Valley Chorus & Orchestra, where they met decades ago.

They sing with its splinter group, the Sunshine Singers, which performs at local seniors clubs. They also sing with another offshoot, Music in the Schools, which visits elementary schools and stages abbreviated productions of The Pirates of Penzance.

Valerie also sings with the Wilmington-based Brandywine Chorale, and she and Phil sing in the 100-member Westminster Presbyterian Church choir on Sundays.

Between them, the Hoffmans are off singing someplace as often as 60 times a year, not counting those Sunday services. They also attend frequent rehearsals.

“We’re not home a lot,” says Valerie, “but I enjoy the freedom to get out and continue the things I’ve always done.”

Living the good life

With active lives, the couple has neither the time nor the desire to rake leaves or shovel snow. They let Grove’s excellent grounds crew handle those chores. 

And Valerie never juggles dinner preparations and rehearsal schedules because the Hoffmans are on Maris Grove’s flexible dining plan. 

They can use their credits however they like at the community’s four on-site restaurants and cafés where professional chefs prepare each meal. “I love the idea of not cooking,” Valerie says.

On rehearsal nights, she and Phil eat early in Coebourn Café or pick up their meals from Cardinal Express to enjoy later at home. Cardinal Express offers the same menu as Maris Grove’s Blue Sky Restaurant but serves the choices to go.  

If the Hoffmans are so often off campus, why did they move?  

“A lot of people move too late,” says Phil. He was ready to move first because he was sold on Maris Grove even before it was built. And although the couple checked out a dozen communities, they kept returning to Maris Grove.

They loved its gorgeous landscaping and its location off the main road yet close to everything. What convinced Valerie was its Cardinal Theater. “It’s a spacious room with good acoustics, good lighting, and theater seating,” she says. 

She agrees with Phil now that moving earlier is better: “You enjoy yourself more when you’re active.” 

Pursuing the arts on campus

Maris Grove offers the Hoffmans ample outlets for their musical interests. They both sing in its community chorus. Valerie also acts, sings, and dances in plays produced by the campus theater group, and she appeared in a hilarious social media video about Santa retiring at an Erickson Living community, which was filmed at Maris Grove and shown on YouTube .

She started a campus tap dance group, the Toe Tappers, whose fancy footwork draws rave reviews at the community’s annual Follies productions. 

Marian Ellis, Maris Grove’s resident playwright, always writes dance numbers into her scripts so the Tappers can strut their stuff.

While Valerie’s on stage, Phil is likely in the control room videotaping the production.

To relax, the Hoffmans return to their comfortable apartment home, one of a wide selection of two-bedroom floor plans at Maris Grove. 

Bordered by Valerie’s colorful flower garden and with a view into a wooded glen, the couple’s patio is their favorite place to unwind. 

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