SPRING HILL — Gray-haired heads nodded to the rhythm of the music. Aged faces brightened at the sight of the youngsters, who were focused on their instruments and Powell Middle School band director Amanda Molé.
The concert and symphonic band students — seventh- and eighth-graders — were at Evergreen Woods Atria recently to entertain, distribute greeting cards and pass around cookies brought from home. They played holiday songs for about half an hour and then mingled among the residents of the assisted-living facility.
Molé chose Evergreen Woods on the recommendation of a student's parent. Adella Kelly was glad she did. Kelly, 81, was delighted with the show.
"I think it's wonderful. It makes me feel special that they would give up their time and come over and give us a little pleasure," she said.
She said events such as this take the older folks back to when their children were young. Some, she said, are away from family or have lost them. "Plus," she said, "it's good for the children to give of themselves."
One of Molé's objectives was to provide a performance opportunity.
"One of the goals of the music program is to get out in the community more," she said. "Music is something that is to be shared. The real excitement doesn't happen until you go out and share."
Henry Twohy, 72, enjoyed the children and the cookies, exclaiming, "Ooooh, cookies!" when those were passed around. He also liked the show.
"I think it was very entertaining," he said. "I think these kids are very talented. It fits right into the season, too."
Seventh-grader Dasabria Williams, 12, who plays flute, seemed as impressed with the residents as they were with her and her classmates.
"When I get to be this age, I would like to be here," she said. "The people are fun."
Seventh-grader Patricia Smithson, 13, who plays saxophone, enjoyed herself, too.
"My favorite part was eating cookies and speaking to the residents," she said. "They're really nice."
Eighth-grader Christopher Helm, 14, plays the trombone.
He said the musicians' goal was "to show them how well we've gotten over the year and be really festive to the old folks — show them what we can do. This band is so beautiful."
Eighth-grader Jessica Marty, 13, who plays the clarinet, and seventh-grader Madison Nelski, 12, who plays flute, seemed to particularly enjoy the residents.
"I love talking to these elderly people," Jessica said. "They're very nice. I'm glad we could be here with them."
"They all have warm hearts," added Madison.