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Mid-Michigan senior citizens form a band and volunteer to entertain others

Posted at 3:52 PM, Dec 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 16:58:07-05

LANSING, Mich. — Music is a big part of the holiday season.

This week's good neighbors are a group of volunteers spreading good cheer and good tunes!

The Senior Class Band is made up mostly of senior citizens from across mid-Michigan who say they won’t let age stop them from enjoying what they love to do most, play music!

Member Laura Topping turns 94 next month! She’s been playing the tuba since she was in 7th grade.

Jingle-bell Rock

“It keeps me active, Topping said. "I play in this group and the Lansing Concert Band and other groups that kind of spring up here and there. It’s a pleasure to be able to go to other facilities and help them enjoy their day.”

The Senior Class Band has been volunteering to play at care facilities throughout mid-Michigan since 1992, almost 30 years!

This month they’ve been playing a lot of holiday tunes but most of the time they like to play all the big band hits and the standards from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

Trumpet player Tom Emery says playing can be demanding work, but he loves it, and he says no matter how old you are practice makes perfect!

“I feel I have to play every day especially with a brass instrument where the different pitches and notes are made basically using your embouchure, your lips," Emery said. "So, I try to play at least a half hour every day. It’s demanding in that regard. And that's just maintain what I do.”

Live music for a welcoming audience

Recently the group got to play for the residents of Lansing’s Vista Springs assisted living home, just in time for the holidays.

Vista Springs resident Rhonda Pierce says she loves hearing the band play.

“They are good neighbors because they're giving back to the community, and I think that's fantastic," Pierce said about watching the show. "A lot of people in their age group do nothing but sit around and watch TV, read books, whatever. They're out in the community. They are bringing joy and happiness to people!”

“I think they're great," said resident Hazel Ward. And I think it's wonderful for them to volunteer their time to come to a Vista Springs to entertain these people. You know, we need that! It just makes me feel like dancing.”

Vista Springs Activity Director Cheryl Long says listening to music is also good for the residents.

One more song

“I think is awesome because they get to see people their age, still active doing things and I think if they can see that, it a put spunk in them," Long said. "So, they keep them active. Let them know that no matter how old you get, you can still do some things.”

The Senior Class Band members say they will start playing again in the new year doing what they love most, spreading the joy of music.

If you would like more information on the band you can email the Senior Class Band leader Tom Emery at emeryenvl@aol.com

We want to say thank you to The Senior Class Band for volunteering their time to play music and put smiles on the faces of other seniors.

You are this week’s Good Neighbors.

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Bob Hoffman

Bob Hoffman

9:44 PM, Nov 26, 2018

Good Neighbors Host

Bob Hoffman