This year marks the 8th year that local school aged children and teenagers bring holiday cheer to nursing homes in Indian River County. The Mistletones plan a holiday repertoire, then take it on the road. Most of the performers are elite members of the Charter High School’s Performing Arts Department. This is a volunteer project, done as a labor of love.
This group primarily visits Medicare facilities, where many residents no longer have family and entertainment isn’t usually offered. “It is so nice to see the smiles on their faces,” said Michala Callahan, one of the group’s veterans, having volunteered for the last four years. While Michala heads off to college in 2020, she hopes to still be a part of the Mistletones during her holiday break, next year. “I look forward to it all year long!”
Another Mistletones’ veteran and high school senior is Jessica Griffin. “It is so heartwarming to know we are touching the lives of our audiences. Although many are in wheelchairs, we love to see them sway to the music and sing along with the holiday favorites,” said Jessica.
Alison Niederpruem is a new member of the Mistletones. Alison has a star-studded resume of great local performances at Riverside and the Charter High School. In early 2020, she will play Guinevere in an upcoming production of Camelot. Alison commented, “It is so much fun to join my friends in this community service project! I am really looking forward to making people smile for the holidays.”
Angelina Dubois is also a returning member and is a sophomore at Charter High School. Angelina said, “we’re glad to be able to do it! This year, we are adding songs we recently performed at a competition. The stage time is great experience for us, but also we are so happy to meet the residents and just take time to talk. They appreciate the company and we have a great time entertaining them.”
Lily Jaramillo has been involved with the group since its inception. She also continues a project she adopted the year of the Sandy Hook attack. She delivers 26 holiday baskets to Veterans in memory of the children and teachers that lost their lives that day. “It’s a pay it forward project I promised myself I would continue, always. The only connection between Sandy Hook and the Vets is that both groups deserve to be remembered and honored. We always enjoy our visit to the Vet’s Home built by Every Dream has a Price. 10 Veterans live there and we will bring them dinner, gifts and a show,” said Lily.
Rounding out this year’s Mistletones cast is Charlotte Nafe. Charlotte is a veteran Riverside Children’s Theatre performer. Also a Sophomore at Charter, she brings tremendous talent to the group and is delighted to be a part of it. “ I think it’s a great project. We spend our holidays focused on what we can do for others and that is truly the spirit of the season,” said Charlotte.
If you know of a group that would benefit from an appearance by the Mistletones, call their producer, Sally Dillon at 772-778-2832.
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