President Clinton’s proclamation that “volunteers are vital for our country to live up to the true promise of our heritage” may have been the incentive three years ago for the formation of a group called, “Granny’s Band.” With unique talents and experiences, the members of Granny’s Band have performed at most of the nursing homes and nutrition centers in the Caledonia community. They have also entertained at the Wabasha and Houston county fairs, Houston Hoe Down, family reunions, and birthday parties.
Granny’s Band is composed of five senior citizens, all more than 80 years old, except for one member who is 78. Between them all, they have 30 children and 12 great-grandchildren. By entertaining senior citizens and youth, Granny’s Band member are helping to develop physical and mental health, not only the health of their audience, but their personal health as well. They often ask themselves, “Who enjoys it the most?”
The music, humorous skits, yodeling, singing, and dancing of Granny’s Band are a service to the elderly. These nursing home residents look forward to the band’s return each month. Watkins Rest Home in Winona, 40 miles away, scheduled Granny’s Band for every other month for the entire year of 1999.
The group is especially welcomed to Camp Winnebago, a camp that caters to special children with disabilities. Their music spurs merriment and dancing from their wheelchairs. When the smiles on the faces of these youngsters are seen, it makes the effort worthwhile for the band members.
Early childhood and physical education classes also request Granny’s Band music to teach children how to dance the chicken dance, the bunny hop, the Hokey-Pokey, waltzing, and two-stepping. This past school year and again for this year, the members of Granny’s Band are pen pals to sixth graders for a journaling project. The pen pals’ identities are kept a secret until the end of school.
As they put on many miles doing their entertaining, they are thankful to the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for paying a portion of their mileage. All of their work is done on a volunteer basis.