Through music, Papillion-La Vista High School is bridging generation gaps.
This year, PLV band students will hold monthly concerts for senior citizens at Trinity Village through Harmony Bridge, a program designed to connect music students with senior residents.
When Tim Keller, PLV band director, heard about the program last year at a music educator’s convention, he wanted to bring it to PLV.
“I’m excited to get these kids out in the community,” Keller said.
Michael Levine, founder of Harmony Bridge, sparked the idea after serenading a 107-year-old woman almost 10 years ago in South Dakota.
Now, Harmony Bridge has spread to 23 locations across the country.
During the monthly visits to Trinity Village, students will perform for 30 minutes and mingle with residents for another 30 minutes.
“It’s not only performing for people, it’s connecting generations and bringing joy to other people,” Levine said.
“It shows the kids that music is more than just learning how to play an instrument.”
The first performance at Trinity Village, 522 W. Lincoln St., will take place today, Wednesday, at 6 p.m. in the lobby.
From “When the Saints Go Marching In” to “Home on the Range,” band members will play a variety of classics.
However, there will be plenty of joy even after the music stops.
“The magic is going to be in the interaction, that’s when the light bulb is going to turn on for these students,” Keller said.
“I’m waiting for the first story that a kid shares with me that is totally not music related.”
Lyndsy Engel, director at Trinity, said she is looking forward to the monthly program.
“We are excited for this opportunity because it is a wonderful inter-generational activity for our residents,” she said.
“The music and specifically this event encourages them to reminisce about the good ole’ days. It is a great activity that lifts spirits and evokes joy within our residents and staff.”
Eventually, Keller said, he hopes to get Papillion La Vista Middle School students and sixth-grade band students involved as well.
By bringing Harmony Bridge to PLV, Keller said his goal is to instill a sense of community into his students.
“My hope is that they have a better understanding of community, giving back, being apart of the community and learn about other peoples’ stories,” he said.