Teen performs for seniors stuck at home

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When Hart High sophomore Jonah Burckert was looking for a creative way to audition as section leader in the Hart Regiment Band, he thought he would find something to help his local community.

“One of the things we have to do is come up with a special project that incorporates music,” Burckert said, “so I thought that because seniors can’t see their families because of the coronavirus that I would go out and play ‘Happy Birthday’ to them over FaceTime or something like that.”

Burckert’s been playing the trumpet since fourth grade, so playing “Happy Birthday” would be a piece of cake.

Hart High School Regiment Band and Colorguard trumpeter, Jonah Burckert,15, plays Happy Birthday to residents Peggy Fleming, 91, left, and Rusty Kieserman, 70 at Pacifica Senior Living in Newhall on Thursday May, 14, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

After contacting many of the senior living centers in the Santa Clarita Valley, Burckert decided to do some performances over Facetime and others in person from a safe distance, hoping to bring some joy to the seniors who have been stuck at home without their families there to celebrate their birthdays. 

On Thursday, Burckert went to Pacifica Senior Living, playing in several different locations for seniors whose birthdays are in May to hear from the safety of their rooms or balconies. 

“It was really nice,” he said. “I did three in their central courtyard, and then I was able to go out to the side (yard) and for two them do an individual, and at the very back, I was able to play for two more.”

Nnty-nine-year-old Carmel Brockman leans over her birthday banner as she listens as Hart High School Regiment Band and Colorguard trumpeter, Jonah Burckert,15, plays Happy Birthday to her below her balcony at Pacifica Senior Living in Newhall on Thursday May, 14, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Though it was simple, seniors were extremely appreciative of the kind gesture. 

“They’ve really liked it, and they’ve been super grateful,” he added. “It’s just been really fun.”

Burckert says he plans to continue performing for seniors until everything’s back to normal.

Has someone been kind to you recently? If you have a story you’d like to share, please send your stories to [email protected].

Hart High School Regiment Band and Colorguard trumpeter, Jonah Burckert,15, chats with a residents before playing Happy Birthday as they lean out on their balcony at Pacifica Senior Living in Newhall on Thursday May, 14, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Sandy Denson, 95, blows kisses to Hart High School Regiment Band and Colorguard trumpeter, Jonah Burckert,15, as he plays Happy Birthday to her at Pacifica Senior Living in Newhall on Thursday May, 14, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

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