Playing for smiles

Student-created orchestra event to bring holiday joy


Rachel Blake

Strings for Smiles, an orchestra ensemble created by junior Madelyn Bloom, will perform at Beehive Assisted Living Center on Saturday, Dec. 7, starting at 10 a.m.

Spreading love through different mediums infiltrates the holiday season. While people living in nursing homes aren’t always able to participate in festive activities, junior Madelyn Bloom is creating a way to bring love to them. Coining the name Strings for Smiles, Bloom got together a small group of orchestra students to play at Beehive Assisted Living Center on Saturday, Dec. 7, starting at 10 a.m.

“Ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to make a change,” Bloom said. “One of my favorite things that makes me happy is music. I thought it would be cool to implement that to [change] people’s lives.”

Bloom created the idea for Strings for Smiles on her own. After a simple email to her director, the plan was sprung into motion, giving Bloom and the ensemble the support they need.   

“The whole purpose for this was one of our students, Madelyn Bloom, told me one morning, she said ‘Look I just want to share our music, that would be cool for the people who need it,’” head orchestra director Bill Zauner said. “We started talking and it took us about a week to come up with the idea for this. It [will] brighten up their day a little bit.”

After talking with Bloom, Zauner announced the event to his classes for students who would like to volunteer. Individually, four other students joined, including sophomore Uriko Ramírez. With not much time for scheduling practice sessions, the small group prepared as much as they could.

“This week has been crazy with the concert, our director [has] been working very hard to get everything ready,” Ramírez said. “I know our ensemble is excited for this event, to learn how the power of music can impact everyone of all ages.”

Pushing the orchestra program’s name out in the public is important to both Zauner and Bloom, bringing delight to the faces and hearts of people. They hope to continue events like these, giving their music to where it’s needed.

“I want to bring joy,” Bloom said. “Hopefully it’ll brighten the holidays, the joy of seeing them hear what we are playing.”