An Orchard Park assisted living facility is making sure there are plenty of holiday entertainment events for residents this month. Nardin Academy elementary students performed this week before a large crowd of residents at Orchard Heights on Chestnut Ridge Road. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the Nardin senior choir delivered a special holiday concert.
"I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,” sang the Nardin choir.
The student choir delivered a series of traditional holiday tunes before a large crowd of Orchard Heights residents. Leading the students with high energy on the piano was Nardin music teacher Mark Mazur. Mazur is a talented musician with great showmanship, injecting humor in between songs.
“Are you still with me? We’ll do a couple of more, or are you in a hurry?” asking the nursing facility audience. “No!” declared the residents.
Mazur highlights his students, giving each one a chance to state their name throughout the performance.
“Go ahead – right to the front,” Mazur instructs students.
Mazur tells us it’s important for his students to experience a performance before an elderly population.
“Well I just feel it’s important that the young people share with everyone, not only people their age, but also people maybe who are a little older who need to have a connection at Christmas especially,” Mazur remarked.
“This is nice to have them come here,” declared Jim Sweeny, an Orchard Heights resident from south Buffalo. He truly enjoyed the concert saying it was “inspiring.”
"What was your favorite today?” Buckley asked. “I liked ‘Oh Holy Night’,” responded Sweeny.
“The stars are brightly shinning,” sang a Nardin student.
“It’s really fun and really special because we love singing to make everyone happy,” said Ayden Weinstein, Nardin 8th grader. He enjoyed performing for the seniors.
“I saw all of them singing along and it made me happy,” Weinstein replied.
Each choir show provides a chance to sing the holiday songs with the students.
“Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer – had a very shinny nose,” the choir and audience sang.
6th grader Lilly Flammer was thrilled to share the choir’s talents with the elderly residents.
“I love it – it’s really fun,” Flammer said. “I just like making people happy and singing for all sorts of people.”
8th grader Michael Scime said he enjoys signing and seeing the reaction from the audience.
“Just to see their smiles on their faces and to see them singing along is really sweet,” Scime stated.
“I want to make sure that they can feel like their family is still with them and we try to inspire them by singing the songs that we do,” explained Aubrie Boyer, 7th grader.
Boyer said this is her first year with the Nardin choir.
“Definitely a new experience for me because I’ve never been in choir before. It was very exciting to see everyone just smiling and having a good time,” Boyer said.
Students are always asked to take a bow for their work. The students praise Mr. Mazur for teaching and guiding them throughout the performance.
"He’s definitely one-of-a-kind music teacher – definitely out-there and has a very strong option about each and every one us,” Boyer noted. “Yes, he’s great. He really interacts the audience, tells stories and just makes everyone really smile,” Scime said.
“He’s my favorite teacher,” Flammer giggled. “Oh my God! I love that! Well, that’s wonderful,” Mazur reacted.
“How many years have you been teaching at Nardin?” Buckley asked. “I’ve been at Nardin 33-years,” replied Mazur.
“When I worry and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep,” sang the student choir.
And a footnote, Mazur will be back at Orchard Height's this weekend to perform with his adult band for the residents. When he's not providing music lessons or leading choirs and orchestras at the school, ‘Mark Mazur and the Little Big Band’ perform throughout Western New York.