Moments after the Fort Osage High School Touch of Class Choir entertained patrons of Cedarhurst Assisted Living in Blue Springs, junior Aidan McWilliams shook hands with the residents who were sitting in the front row.
It was a heartfelt interaction that did not go unnoticed by Touch of Class Choir director Julie Ammons, who has been bringing high school and junior high students from the Fort Osage School District caroling for the past 16 years.
“To say today was special would not give this day enough credit, it would not come close to how impactful it was on me and everyone in our choir,” McWilliams said. “Special is just not a strong enough word.
“This is a day I know the patrons of the centers we visit enjoy, and we enjoy it just as much. To be able to interact with their generation, to learn from them while we entertain them, is so impactful in my life. This is a day I always look forward to and never forget.”
Ammons echoes the thoughts of McWilliams and her other choir students.
“I think it’s wonderful to show our students the impact they can have on someone’s life by just showing up and performing. It doesn’t cost them a thing and everyone gets so much from it,” she said.
“I was watching the interaction today and I know our choir members were enjoying the performance as much as the people we were performing for. And I saw a few tears – including my own. It’s just a great way to celebrate the holiday season.”
Cedarhurst resident Linda Brockelman was dressed in her holiday finest – from head to toe – and savored every moment of the choir’s performance.
“This just makes it seem like Christmas to me,” Brockelman said. “I get to get dressed up and be with my friends and listen to great music. And I get to be with all these wonderful young people.”
Donna and Bob Schemenauer, husband and wife residents, agreed.
“The young people, the music – the more the merrier,” Donna said. “This just gets us in the holiday spirit.”
Bob nodded in agreement and added, “When you see young people like this, it just gives you hope for the world. It gives you faith that the world is going to be in good hands.”
As they boarded the bus for their next stop, choir members talked about their favorite moments.
“This is always my favorite activity with our choir,” K.S. Pau said. “To look out in the audience and see the people smile and sing along is so special.”
Added Truman Gouldsmith: “We work hard to make this special, and when you see all the smiles, we know all our hard work and practice was worth it.”
And sophomore Morgan Watkins will never forget her first caroling experience.
“I love it so much!” Morgan said. “I wondered what it would be like, and it is even better than I imagined.”