Mrs. Ashley Nelling, Lakeside Junior High and High School Choir Director, contacted the event coordinators from each facility and asked to have the students perform. "This experience has shown my students how to be better performers and how grateful people are to hear them. The most endearing thing about this performance was watching the students react to the audiences’ emotions. Many (happy) tears were shed by both students and residents. They were so complimentary of the performance,” Nelling explained. “This is the reason why I wanted my students to perform, especially in front of the residents of these two nursing homes. I knew they would get a positive reaction which helps make them feel better about performing in this group,” she added.
Lakeside Junior High Principal Scott Anservitz said “this experience enhances the students’ appreciation. They need to understand that the world is bigger than Lakeside. This allows us to give back to the community since the community gives us so much.”
Superintendent Mark Potts added, “I am delighted that these students were able to go out into the community and share their talents and joy with others. We have wonderful students at all grade levels and I am always happy to show them off to the community”
Songs from the performance included "Circle of Life" from the Lion King, "Light" written by Sally K. Albrecht, "You are the reason" performed by Calum Scott, "Harriet Tubman" arranged by Kathleen McGuire, and "Seize the Day" from the musical Newsies. "They really enjoyed many of the songs, their favorites being "You are the reason" and "Seize the day", noted Nelling. “I also wanted to include a little bit of Black History month which is why the students sang the tune "Harriet Tubman," she added. Flashlight choreography was added to the tune "Lights" which brought many smiles to the residents’ faces. It also made the song more enjoyable to perform.
"We have more than 50 seventh and eighth grade students in choir, many of which have never performed in a choral ensemble. From this performance, we will grow stronger both in voices and numbers. Thank you to the residents and workers of both Saybrook Landing and Jefferson Healthcare. We can't wait to perform for you all again," promised Nelling. “Many students told tell me about residents that reminded them of their own family members. One student said that choir is now part of her life because her grandmother would sing a lot with her and this is something she would never forget. As a choir director, adding these concerts make it all worthwhile,” Nelling concluded.