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North Hills students sing to Oak Park residents

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Wrapped in bright red like presents next to the Christmas tree, about 145 children sang for residents of Oak Park retirement community Thursday.
The North Hills Christian School students performed holiday carols like “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger” as their audience sang along. They also sang other faith-based songs, including “Here I am Lord” and “I Believe in Love.”
Erin Harper directs the North Hills choir, which includes students from first through fifth grades.
This is the first time the children have performed at Oak Park, and Harper said she hopes they bring some holiday cheer.
“I wanted the children to sing to seniors,” Harper said. “Especially at Christmastime, people can get a little lonely.”
Harper is also the director of community music at Catawba College and the lead piano professor there.
She said the different grades at North Hills all rehearse in separate classes, and Thursday was the first time they sang the Christmas songs all together.
The choir already has been invited back to Oak Park in the spring, Harper said.
“We’d invite them back tomorrow,” said Frank Goodrich, assistant manager of the community.
Fifth-grader Alyssa Carmitchel said she had fun performing for the Oak Park residents.
“I just love people, and I love singing,” Carmitchel said. “I really enjoyed it.”
Brianna Hargrove, a fourth-grader, said she loves to sing at home and is glad to do it for others.
“It was fun to get to sing for them,” Hargrove said.
Devon Mitchell, a fourth-grader, said “it was awesome” to sing with the choir Thursday. He also was impressed by the Oak Park community building, where the halls are fully decked with wreaths, bows, trees and twinkling lights.
“This place is amazing,” Mitchell said. “I can’t wait till I’m retired.”
Resident Margie Rich said she loves to spend time with children when they visit the community.
“The children did a wonderful job,” Rich said. “I really enjoyed them.”
Martha Hopkins, another resident, cheerfully agreed.
“It really was a good program,” she said. “Hallelujah, it was good.”
Martha Smith, Oak Park marketing director, said the residents have been looking forward to the concert since they found out about it a couple weeks ago.
Other children have come to the community to perform for the holidays, she said, and the senior adults enjoy it every time.
“They love when kids come to see them,” Smith said. “It means a lot. It means it’s Christmas.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
Twitter: twitter.com/postcopolitics
Facebook: facebook.com /Karissa.SalisburyPost

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