Three dozen eighth student-musicians from J. Taylor Finley Middle School brought their bright smiles and sunny dispositions to the residents of Carillon Nursing & Rehabilitation Center on Park Avenue in Huntington this week. The annual holiday visit lifted the spirits of everyone, including the facility’s employees.
The teenagers performed over 30 holiday selections. The group included a dozen band musicians, 12 orchestra students and a dozen chorus members.
The students performed a variety of selections, including “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Deck the Halls,” “Silent Night” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” plus many other favorites.
“This performance has become a wonderful yearly tradition,” said Frank Battista, Finley’s veteran band director. “Finley students always enjoy sharing their talents with the residents of Carillon.”
A crowd of about 45 folks turned out in the facility’s dining hall for the visit and enjoyed the performances. “The residents of Carillon loved singing with the students today,” Finley chorus teacher Daniel Santangelo said.
It was hard to tell who enjoyed the visit more; the eighth graders or the Carillon residents. “The students were able to use their talents to bring music and joy to members of our Huntington community,” Finley orchestra director Matt Gelfer said. “It is truly the greatest gift; the best way to celebrate the season.”
The teenagers were glad they made the trek across town. “I had an amazing time singing and spreading holiday spirit,” Finley Student Council President Josh Youngquist said.
The eighth graders hit it off with Carillon’s residents. “It was a true honor to be able to share that with them,” vocalist Sophia Matheus said. “It made me feel good to be able to share the experience.”
Huntington School District students are frequent visitors to Carillon. “I loved brightening their day by performing lively music with my friends,” flutist Noa Kimmelman said.
Regardless of who comprises the audience, Finley students just love to perform. “I was so excited to sing for the welcoming residents of Carillon; they were so kind,” Alexandra Kustera said.
Visiting Carillon helped to make the season even more meaningful for the teenagers. “It felt really good to spread holiday cheer to the residents of Carillon,” Erin Ye said.
The Finley students noticed the faces of Carillon’s resident light up as the performances got underway. “It felt fantastic to know that I made someone’s day a bit brighter with our singing,” Morgan Colleluori said.
The eighth graders had such a good time they can’t wait for the next opportunity to visit. “It was such a great experience, I wish we could do it all over again,” Finley Dunn said.
The Finley musicians know with certainty they brought happiness to their audience.
“Seeing the smiles on their faces was the most rewarding holiday gift of all,” Emily Plachta said.