Musical Performances Form Connection Between Student and Senior Citizen Community


Grace Sewell

[flagallery gid=169]

Retired custodian from Walpole High School and Johnson Middle School Richard McCarthy has been working hard to connect the middle school and high school students to the Walpole senior citizen community.  

Over the past year, he has worked with Katie Basilotto and Christine Svendsen, the guidance counselors of Bird Middle School and Johnson Middle School, who have helped him round up groups of kids to do activities such as yard work to help the senior citizens. More recently, with the help of the Walpole High School’s National Honors Society advisor Laura Kay, the Director of the Walpole Council on Aging, Courtney Riley, and the Director of Walpole Housing, Denise Landry, McCarthy was able to round up a group of student performers to display their talents in front of the Walpole Council on Aging.

On Thursday April 7, seven high school students came to the Walpole senior center to perform their musical talents for the senior citizens. The performers ranged from singers and pianists to harpists and ukuleists. The musicians stood up beside their instrument and introduced themselves along with their age, grade, and how long they had been playing.  

Prior to this concert, students have performed for seniors at Diamond Pond, but so far the senior center is the biggest venue. Riley said, “[The seniors] were impressed by the talent, and they were thrilled to have the kids come in to perform for them.”

The students were not the only ones to perform at the event, as three senior citizens sang, and others played the guitar, the keyboard, and the accordion. The first group of seniors, consisting of Paul Nolan and Louis Howes, played old show tunes. The second performer was solo guitarist Bob Bleakly.

McCarthy has worked hard to coordinate these student performances because he feels as though the connection between seniors and young adults is very important.  

“The Walpole Council on Aging enjoys having the student interaction and always welcomes young adults into their community,” Riley said, “both groups can teach each other so much, and the seniors truly enjoy talking to the kids and listening to them.” For this reason, everyone involved in coordinating student-senior activities hopes that these interactions are only the beginning of a long lasting relationship between the two groups.