SELMA – A group of women known as the Harmony Singers entertained seniors at the Nick Medina Senior Center Dec. 12. As choir organizer Eileen Engstrom said, they may have fewer members participating this season, but it’s not without good reason and it’s all for a good cause.
“This year, we’re ‘Harmony Light,’ Engstrom said of their smaller than usual group. “Some of the singers are attending school while some have just recently had a baby or are about to.”
Most of the singers are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and branched out after singing with a similar group in Visalia, she said.
“Some of us sang in that group in the late 1990s. This group’s been going since Christmas of 2001.”
While the singers rehearse Thursday mornings, they set out during the first two weeks of May and December giving free concerts in Selma, Kingsburg, Fowler and Reedley.
“We really enjoy bringing the Christmas spirit to the people we sing for, and it’s so fun because some will sing along with us,” Engstrom said. They even get audience members involved in the act by having them use props to add to the festivities. “We like to dress people up and get them in the spirit,” she said.
Among members is Julie Valdez who is also the choir director at Selma’s Indianola Elementary and involved with productions at the Selma Arts Center. Other singers that day included Katie Smith, Robin Preston, Georgeanna Johnson, Tiffany Grey and Breshell Berndt.
Senior Center Activities Coordinator Allie Contreras said she’s noticed how much the seniors look forward to the performance every year.
“My favorite part is when I take a step back and see the look on the seniors’ faces. The joy and excitement would bring a smile to your face. It helps them remember the good times and being with loved ones and it even sparks up memories of their childhood. It’s amazing to hear their stories.”
When asked to choose a favorite holiday song, Engstrom said it was hard to pick just one. This year, though, she said “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is standing out as a favorite song to perform.
“We hope we bring a little Christmas spirit and joy to your hearts,” she said to the audience as they started the show. “You’ll bring that to ours just by being here and listening to us.”