Seniors give Carson youth a chance to make sweet music

BRAD HORN/Nevada AppealAshley Gerber, 16, plays "Love at Home" on the viola at Sierra Place Retirement Community for the residents on Wednesday.

BRAD HORN/Nevada AppealAshley Gerber, 16, plays "Love at Home" on the viola at Sierra Place Retirement Community for the residents on Wednesday.

As Silver State High School sophomore Ashley Gerber, 16, positioned her bow and prepared to play her viola Wednesday afternoon in front of more than a dozen senior residents of Sierra Place Retirement Community, the listeners shifted eagerly.

"It's just wonderful," said resident Eleanor Phillips, who moved to Sierra Place from New Jersey seven months ago. "It's events like this that really make living here a good experience."

As Ashley finished a quick number Wednesday, she bowed graciously to applause and turned over the third-floor community room to Sierra Place's activities director Robin Meyer.

Meyer introduced representatives of the "Strings in the Schools" and Seeliger Elementary's music program " both of which received separate $500 grants donated by Sierra Place's parent company and the residents who live there.

"The (residents raised money) by playing Rummikub," Meyer said. "They donated a little money for each game. In total, they played 95 games " it's pretty addictive and they knew they were doing something to give back."

"This money certainly goes a long way," said Seeliger music teacher Mary Law. "You don't know how much we appreciate it."

Seeliger principal Lee Conley was also on hand Wednesday to accept the check on behalf of the school.

"You have all done a good thing here," he said, addressing the seniors. "You would be proud of our (students) that participate in music.

"They're the kind that are just very valuable and I know they're going to do the right thing down the road. We've never had a gift like this " so, thank you."

Elinor Bugli, president of the Carson City Symphony Association, helped started the "Strings in the Schools" " a tuition-free program which teaches secondary students to play stringed instruments.

"There's not a way we can thank you enough for (the donation)," she told the seniors. "But we do love coming here and performing."

Between members of Mary Law's class and "Strings in the Schools" participants. the seniors at Sierra Place get at least a quarterly dose of youth-infused musical entertainment.

"I think it's a good connection to the community " on both sides," Meyer said.

Gerber put her viola down long enough to hand out cake to seniors following her performance and said Wednesday was her first day playing in front of the Sierra Place residents.

She plans to attend BYU-Idaho and further her musical training there after graduation. In the meantime, she said she hopes to be back in front of the appreciative audience soon.

"Yes, it's pretty rewarding," she said, grabbing a forkful of cake. "It's worth it, just to see their smiles.

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