Smaller band ensemble performs in intimate settings

Harmony Bridge brings joy to the elderly


Marta Hill

A small group from Park bands performs at TowerLight Senior Living Dec. 17, 2018. The group is called Harmony Bridge and they perform about twice a year at various locations.

Jenna Cook and Amaia Barajas

According to band director Steven Schmitz, Harmony Bridge is a small program which provides a unique experience for performers and audiences alike.

“Students play in small groups, and then they perform at senior homes and veteran homes, and then a key part of it besides the playing and bringing a concert to those who normally can’t get to a concert is that then they socialize and connect with the seniors,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz said the students involved in the program often fluctuate based on the venues they play as well as which students are available.

“If they have a big space for us we can have more people,” Schmitz said. “So many kids in band are very, very busy, so if I try to ask everyone to do it most would not be able to either, so there’s a space and a time thing.”

Junior Dayna Krause said Harmony Bridge typically performs about twice a year with intent of bringing joy to elderly people.

“Basically what we do is we go and we play in older people homes or people that have a little more trouble and we usually do it for holiday music and then we have another gig,” Krause said.

Schmitz said participants typically have to learn the music for the concerts largely on their own because of scheduling conflicts.

“Because it doesn’t involve any whole band it’s been one fairly long — like one and a half or two hour long rehearsal after school — and another short rehearsal on the day of, of like half hour,” Schmitz said. “Maybe a little bit of time on their own.”

Krause said she enjoys partaking in Harmony Bridge because it helps her as a musician by looking at music differently than in band class.

“I joined Harmony Bridge because it’s really easy music but you mainly focus on the small details and improve greatly on those, which I really, really like,” Krause said.

Schmitz said he keeps older audiences in mind when selecting what music to perform for them.

“About half is holiday and then the other half is folk tunes or patriotic. We have ‘America,’ ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’ and they’re kind of childhood songs to bring back to hopefully a happy time of their lives,” Schmitz said.