Tracy High club spreads holiday cheer, one song at a time
by Glenn Moore
Dec 05, 2013 | 1132 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A group of tuneful Tracy High School students will be spreading holiday cheer at rest homes in Tracy this month through the Season’s Greetings club.

Founded three years ago by Sarah Bai, then a sophomore, the club gives free seasonal performances to express the love of music and lift elderly residents’ spirits.

Bai has gathered a group of students who share a musical background and enjoy performing.

“With music, it doesn’t matter how great you play, it’s just having the heart to do it, and people really get a delight from music,” she said.

Bai, who plays the piano. got the idea of performing at rest homes after volunteering at Emeritus at Heritage Place in her freshman year.

Since last year, the club’s numbers have doubled to about 30 members. About half participate in each performance, singing for a little more than hour.

The winter holiday performances — featuring about 20 familiar carols and popular tunes — will be followed by spring and summer visits to the homes.

“It’s nice when the seniors sing along,” Bai said. “You can see how energetic and alive they are.”

Fellow Tracy High senior Angela Mesgarzadeh, a viola player now in her third year in the Season’s Greetings club, remembers when it was only six students. The chance to share her musical talents with the community attracted her to the club and convinced her to stay.

“Going out and collaborating with others and sharing the music you work hard to perfect is a great thing,” Mesgarzadeh said. “To see the seniors enjoy it and be delighted by it, even if you make mistakes here and there, is a great thing, and that’s why I enjoy being in Season’s Greetings.”

Club members prepare with weekend rehearsals, building a list of 15 to 20 songs that reflect the season.

“I’m really proud seeing the progression of our club over the years, the number of people who have joined over the years,” Mesgarzadeh said.

Senior Chase Armada, who plays the flute, has been with the club since it started. He said he had played in a band for a long time, but never had the opportunity to be a soloist until he joined Season’s Greetings.

The challenge of playing solo, and bringing cheer to others in the process, sold him on the club.

“I just like how we all use our talents to help them have a better day or week,” Armada said.

He recalled in particular an encounter with an Astoria Gardens resident who was once an opera singer.

“It was interesting to see how through us, she could reminisce about when she was younger and what she used to like to do,” Armada said.

Bai said the number of new members who have joined the club gives her hope that Season’s Greetings will continue after she graduates.

Any local nursing home that wants to schedule a visit can reach the club by email at musicclubths@gmail.com.

Club members don’t ask to be paid for their music, but Mesgarzadeh said there are other compensations.

“After performing, it’s rewarding to have someone thank you,” Mesgarzadeh said. “It’s really heartwarming, and more rewarding than that is seeing the enjoyment in another person’s face. It’s really amazing to me.”

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or gmoore@tracypress.com.

 
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