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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | May 3, 2008

It took an act of courage, but they were well rewarded for it.

Rosie’s Bells, a group of Rosewood Manor residents who play in a bell choir directed by Dee McDonald, had their inaugural concert Thursday night during the monthly coffeehouse at The Max, the Iowa Lakes Community College student center.

On the surface, that doesn’t seem like such a big deal. But think about it for a minute.

Just imagine that you’re a senior citizen living in longterm care. Your friends and relatives visit you on a regular basis, but most of your friends are folks like yourself, well into their seventies, eighties, or beyond. You probably doubt that you’ll be a major contributor to mainstream society.

Then Dee McDonald, your activities director, has an idea of starting a bell choir. You go along with it to please her. But then she wants more. She wants you to perform in public. And not just in any public. AT A COMMUNITY COLLEGE.

Let’s see, you think. Those could be my grandkids … no, great-grandkids … maybe great-great-grandkids?

So you and everyone else goes to the community college where you wait. A crowd begins to gather. A young man goes onstage and sings and plays the guitar. The crowd applauds appreciatively. You’re sitting there, shivering in terror. SO YOU’RE GOING TO PERFORM IN FRONT OF A BUNCH OF COLLEGE STUDENTS???!!!

You all go up there, and the first song goes pretty well. Hmm … this isn’t’ so bad, you think. It goes better with every song until the last one, an Irish ballad. And that one goes beautifully. And then you want to get the heck out of there.

And then something happens. Something beautiful and amazing and precious. The college students stand up and applaud. Not only do they applaud, but they whistle and cheer. And they mean it.

As you leave that community college, a warm pride fills your heart. You feel a great closeness to those college students. You can’t wait to come back and play again.

… Well there’s going to be more coffeehouses this next fall.