Mountain View students brighten holidays
August 28, 2008 · Updated 10:28 AM
MARYSVILLE A bunch of local teens got a head start on Christmas when they brought the sounds of holiday cheer to the elderly last week at the Marysville Care Center.
Students from Marysville Mountain View High School took their lively voices and bright smiles to the retirement home on Grove Street to bring warmth and caring to the residents. They sang a raft of old standards and serenaded several birthday boys and girls, led by longtime community activists Ross and Mary Jane Miller.
The Millers serve on the site council for the school and have made monthly visits to the care center for decades. Once a year they invite the students to come down and share their talents with another generation. This was the seventh year, and the visitors were a hit with the audience, especially when they handed out lyric sheets to songs like You Are My Sunshine, A Bicycle Built for Two, and even Old MacDonald Had a Farm, so the crowd could sing along.
That last old standard got a bunch of laughs when Ross improvised a chorus going Old MacDonald had a wife, with a nag-nag here, and a nag-nag there. The carolers fanned out into the room several times to sing right next to the old folks, hugging them at the same time.
They were a big hit and they had a lot of fun.
Student Foreste Larsen is a 17-year-old senior interested in a possible future career in the rehab ministry and she said it was a great opportunity to reach out to people who cant get out much. The fun was mutual and reciprocal.
I really enjoyed it, Larsen said. We got to go down there and fill them with joy and lift them up. We might have got more out of it that they did.
She used the chance to pray with some of them and listen and talk to them.
It was awesome and I know all the rest of the kids had a blast. Its not something you get to do everyday, Larsen said.
Sophomore Anna Thompson said she used to go Christmas caroling years ago and remembered when her grandfather was in a nursing home back east. It was always a treat for him to receive visitors and if they came bearing songs and mirth, all the better. She noted that some elderly people dont get many visitors at all, much less during the holidays and so the visit from the Mountain View singers was all the more special. This was her first time caroling at the care center and Thompson said she wants to make it a habit.
I really like it and I want to do it again next year, the 16-year-old said. Im pretty sure they loved it. They smiled and acted happy.
For school secretary Judi Berger, who helped lend her voice to the songfest and passed out lyric sheets, it was a great opportunity for her students to reach out to the community. She said the Millers are great people for providing a great opportunity for the kids, not to mention the pizza party they throw for the teens afterward.
They are really generous people and its a great experience for the kids, Berger said.
For Mary Jane its a family affair, since she brings her husband and daughter Susie along. They play the piano and guitar, respectively, and Miller even has a flautist with the Everett Symphony come along to accompany the singers. She noted that the Mountain View kids each make a custom Christmas card for a resident of the care center.
Bringing the high school students and staff along was a great way to capitalize on their success over the years, Miller explained.
Weve been going for 22 years, Miller said. I decided gee, maybe we should take the kids to sing.
That was seven years ago, and Miller said she and her husband will keep going as long as they are able. Who wants to be a snowbird down south each season when they can stay in town and help out with stuff like this, she added.
Quite a few of the people there are younger than Ross and I and were starting to wonder about this, Miller laughed. But its worked out really good for us.