212 Day: Singing for the Senior Citizens

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212 Day: Singing for the Senior Citizens

Justin Bond, Managing Editor

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On February 12, one of our volunteer groups played music at two local nursing homes to give back to the community.

We loaded up around 9:30 am with around 15 kids and headed to the both the Legends and the Heritage House nursing homes in Greenville. The day was a fun-filled activity full of musical production directed towards senior citizens.

As drawn by one of our teacher chaperones for the day, Brian Miers, “Everyone was very appreciative of the songs we played and the conversations we had with them. They just loved seeing the young people perform, and they loved requesting songs they knew and grew up listening to. Music has the power to calm the spirit, to heal the body, and to bring people together. You could see on their faces the joy and appreciation.”

It was rather quiet upon first entering. At both places, the senior citizens were already awaiting our arrival in the commons area. Though we were all happy to perform, there was definitely an ice barrier that needed to be broken – nobody knew what to expect.

As Kayla Weir offers, “I think when we first entered, there was a sort of nervous energy. More and more people came to see what we were doing and it seemed that most everyone relaxed and became more comfortable. When Cassidy started painting nails and the music started, there was a calm and happiness that fell over the room.”

There were two official bands and the jazz section went first. They played various tunes such as “Brown Eyed Girl” and “What a Wonderful World” – the residents absolutely loved the production!

“The jazz set seemed to really impress the senior citizens at the assisted living facility. They said they often had adults playing instruments, but rarely saw such talented young people,” said Weir.

Next up was an acoustic set performed by Matthew Marlborough, Deja Rollins, and myself. We played a total of 4 songs including the classics, “Stand by Me” and “Let it Be.”

As Weir continues, “When the acoustic set began, people felt encouraged to join in and they seemed to really appreciate the effort to play songs they loved, specifically the hymns and older favorites.”

Our 212 group was running a bit ahead of schedule, which is when Mr. Miears stepped in with his impressive showman charisma to play many more catchy tunes.

As he recounts, “Oh, I had a great time! I hope the kids learned something about how to communicate with their audience and that it’s okay to make mistakes. The most important part of any performance is not how many notes you missed, but how many lives you touched. If you can find a way to connect with the people you are playing for, then suddenly everyone is a part of the music and not just you.”

Our group could only imagine the reminiscing that took place that day when we were able to take them back to their earlier years where the memories were first made. The impact the nursing home 212 group had on our local senior citizens was, to say the least, profound.

As Weir finalized, “It definitely had a tremendous impact on the people there. The smiles and appreciation for the music and socializing really showed just how important it is to give back. I know one man I spoke with couldn’t see his family as often as he likes because they live far away so he enjoyed seeing you all.”

Though the chaperones were heavily involved and opinionated on the awesome experience, our fellow student volunteers also felt very strongly about their participation.

Student and member of both bands, Matthew Marlborough, expresses, “I am glad we were able to bring some joy to the hearts to others within the community through our musical gifts; overall, it was a wonderful experience!”

On the bus ride home, the entire nursing home group agreed of the amusement and satisfaction brought to us by our involvement in the community. We were all in good spirits and very aware of the profound effect we had on our older generation.