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Seabrook’s hidden gem shines brighter

Campus TV studio gets complete overhaul, is better than ever

Created date

July 20th, 2016
Pat Driscoll (right) interviews Joseph Bennett on Seabrook Lives. New interchangeable vinyl panels or “skins,” comfortable chairs, and modern décor create a professional set for the shows produced in Seabrook’s newly renovated TV studio.

Pat Driscoll (right) interviews Joseph Bennett on Seabrook Lives. New interchangeable vinyl panels or “skins,” comfortable chairs, and modern décor create a professional set for the shows produced in Seabrook’s newly renovated TV studio.

Ruth Lebo says Seabrook’s on-campus TV studio is a hidden gem. Nowadays, it’s shining a lot brighter and getting a lot more attention.

The state-of-the-art TV studio at Erickson Living’s continuing care community in Tinton Falls, N.J., just got a complete facelift. From the set to the technology, this unique amenity is equipped for professional-quality productions.

“It looks like CBS This Morning,” Ruth says of the new set. As one of the studio’s many volunteers, Ruth operates the cameras. 

When she first moved to Seabrook about 18 months ago from the Berkshires, Ruth witnessed the action through a large window between the studio and the hallway. 

“I thought, ‘This is a wonderful place to be. So I went in there, and Travis [Tanay, TV lead coordinator] had an opening,” Ruth says. “I became more and more involved. It’s fascinating. What they get out of this small studio is just amazing. Some of the interviews are as fine as any professional interview I have seen on TV.”

Streamlined, professional productions

Designed by Tanay and Gelbach Designs, the new studio includes an all-new set with green screen and interchangeable 10-foot vinyl background panels, or “skins”; two 50-inch side-by-side monitors; and a tape-free, all-digital environment.

The design took about a month and a half, and Seabrook staff assembled it upon arrival in March. They recycled all old equipment. 

“The studio is more streamlined and modern. It has opened up a lot of opportunities,” Tanay says.

He says they’ll be producing new shows in addition to several popular ones like Seabrook Lives With Pat Driscoll and The Girls.

“There has definitely been a lot of talk about the new studio among residents, and it’s all positive,” says Tanay.

Pat Driscoll, who hosts Seabrook Lives, says he’s excited about the new studio. “It’s definitely interesting. The setting is more pleasant. It’s comfortable and modern looking. I like it,” he says.

During his 45-minute show, Pat interviews neighbors about their lives, careers, hobbies, and family. 

“I’m interested in the way people have led their lives. Here at Seabrook, everyone has had vastly different experiences in terms of their lives. Some people have grown up in Europe and Latin America. They’ve had different careers, various family experiences. It’s a topic I find very interesting,” Pat says.

On The Girls, five female neighbors—Julia Sullivan, Judy Tier, Amy Volz, Rona Mininni, and Barbara Kouri—host comedic discussions of current events, health tips, and heartwarming stories.

The Girls is hysterical. It is the funniest show in the world, and they have an amazing following,” says Ruth, who also volunteers with Judy Tier on the Welcoming Committee. The committee meets with new residents to help them acclimate to the community, discover activities and friends, and navigate the campus and its amenities.

Wake-up call

“The TV studio is only one of many things at Seabrook I’ve found that are so great,” says Ruth. “I came in here cold, and I didn’t know what to expect. It’s been the most amazing ride.”

Aside from the TV studio and Welcoming Committee, Ruth attends a short-story class taught by neighbor Regina Thomas, takes yoga classes on campus, and attends the live Metropolitan Opera simulcasts at nearby Monmouth College. Seabrook’s shuttle service provides transportation to and from Monmouth College.

“That is something I would not have had access to had I been living alone in a condo someplace,” Ruth reflects. 

One of Ruth’s most prized activities is the monthly film festival she runs with three other neighbors. Weekly for a month, they show films around the same theme in Seabrook’s auditorium. 

For example, in January, they showed presidential films. In February, they showed little-known films starring Maggie Smith. 

“We filled the auditorium!” Ruth says of the Maggie Smith series. 

Future festival topics include seniors, music, and art. This month, they will show food-themed films like Chocolat starring Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche, and Judi Dench.

Residents who can’t attend the films in the auditorium may view them on the campus TV channel, as the auditorium control center connects to the TV studio, allowing productions—filmed or live—to be broadcast in each home. 

“Seabrook is truly, truly an experience,” says Ruth. “You have no idea the time of life and the quality of life that can be had here. Believe me, seniors are alive and well! Moving here woke me up. I’m just so proud of who I am because I’m here.”