By Ella Brisotti and Izzy Harper
We have known each other our whole lives, but something special to us that has contributed to our friendship is the Youth Choir Music and Mission (M&M) Trip. The M&M Trip is all about building and strengthening relationships with not only God but each other as well, through music, mission, and fun! This year we traveled to Myrtle Beach, singing at nursing homes and volunteering at a thrift shop and preschool. On the way down, we stopped at Sandy Ridge Memory Care. My (Ella) favorite part about singing here is that some people who don’t remember much might remember the words to a song and sing along with us. While waiting to sing, Reid Lorenz, Andi Leigh Waldrop, and I walked around and stepped in one room to say, “We just came to say hey and see how y’all were doing.” The pure joy on their faces just touched my heart.
We usually volunteer at a preschool, and this year we helped with one-year-olds who warmed our hearts, especially little Hazel and Evelyn. We spent all morning carrying them everywhere! I asked a teacher how she did this every day. She answered, “It is amazing to see kids grasp ideas and learn things. Ones are learning to walk and mumble a word or two, twos can talk and somewhat communicate, and fours are learning how to process ideas and actually converse!” Just a few hours with these kids exhausted me, and she does this every day!
My (Izzy) favorite memory was at Magnolia Assisted Living. After we sang, Emma Tillman and I were talking to a man with tears in his eyes. He took my hand and said, “Young lady, that was absolutely beautiful.” I learned that his family doesn’t come around much anymore, and he doesn’t have any visiting grandkids our age. He was so moved by our performance, and all we did was sing God’s word. I walked back to our group and people just kept saying “Izzy, Emma, why are y’all crying” and all we could say was “That man was just so happy we came to sing for them.”
Youth Choir has been a huge part of our lives at CUMC. We have met some incredible people and have been able to find our voices. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to be a part of such an amazing family. Everybody knows you are accepted for who you are: No matter what clothes you wear, if you’re head cheerleader or like to read at home, if you have both parents at home or not—we all get along. As rising seniors, this was one of our last M&M trips, and every second is a cherished memory. When we sing, whether at a retirement home or just singing on the bus, we connect with others through music. It’s a feeling not many of us get to experience very often, but when we do it is pretty astonishing.