Student Sidewalk Serenades - Celebration, Florida

This is community.

During a pandemic, music still mattered to this young student in the town of Celebration. As a junior at Celebration High School that had ACL surgery on March 13, 2020, Jacqueline recovered physically at home with digital learning and virtual zoom rehearsals with Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra to keep her occupied. Playing music more than ever. As a flutist, she continued to play in her home as COVID altered our lives.

Jacqueline wanted to share her love of music with a program named Thriving In Place. The Celebration Foundation’s program had suspended gatherings and social activities for this senior population. So having a concert was not in the cards.

Her idea for sidewalk serenades came from neighbors that stood outside her window and heard her practicing the flute daily. These neighbors would be walking their dogs or getting their mail and hear Jacqueline playing the flute. Each would stop and listen. One neighbor even texted her mom that she would like to sit outside Jacqueline’s window every evening with a glass of wine and listen to music.

Simply, because music matters.

It soothes the soul. In an unprecedented time, music mattered more.

So, Jacqueline created the idea of a sidewalk serenade where she would be the one on the sidewalk and go to homes of senior citizens and play her flute. These plans to set up her music stand and play solo to seniors in our community came to fruition. Through the Celebration Foundation, a grant was submitted to the Central Florida Foundation in the amount of $1,000 to purchase sheet music for these sidewalk serenades. It was granted and the planning began.

With the assistance of Becky Varley, interim TIP program manager, a sidewalk serenade route was mapped to treat Thriving In Place members to a sidewalk serenade at their home or porch. No fancy attire required.

Thriving in Place members have been treated to a Sidewalk Serenade during some of our Doormat Deliveries. Now Jacqueline is a rising senior at Celebration High School and is the principal flutist in the school’s Wind Ensemble and co-drum major of the Celebration High School Marching Band. In addition, she has participated in the Florida All-State Band for the past two years and has played flute with a community orchestra for four years. When asked what inspired her to play for our members, she stated that since the pandemic started, she has not had much opportunity to perform and decided it would be great to play music again while making people smile.

Our Thriving in Place members have loved the sidewalk serenades and hearing live music again. Jacqueline enjoys meeting residents (socially distanced) throughout town while bringing smiles to all that hear her flute. It is volunteers like Jacqueline who have been such a boost to our members and community during COVID. As the Thriving In Pace program has kept members connected through virtual platform with BINGO, yoga and lectures.

Being connected in our community with a sidewalk serenade makes all the difference in our town and our hearts.
One song at time. One sidewalk at a time. One student musician.

Stay tuned to hear more sidewalk serenades soon as more students join Jacqueline in making a difference in our community. Music matters.

This writer is so appreciative of wonderful community volunteers that have kept our programs connected and cared for during COVID. Especially Thriving In Place!

To learn about the Thriving In Pace program, visit www.celebrationfoundation.org or email Thriving@CelebrationFoundation.org.

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