Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
March 10, 2009 Issue
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At Catskill Regional, the gift of music

By Sharon Space-Bamberger
HARRIS — On December 18, over 150 students from eight Sullivan County schools brought joy to the hearts of patients, staff and visitors at the Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC).
The hospital’s lobby, hallways, cafeteria and Skilled Nursing Unit were filled with talented young entertainers celebrating the season with a “Renaissance Holiday Festival.”
Performers included Tri-Valley student Julia Spriggens on a unicycle and Monticello HS ballet dancer Emma Laufersweiler, who danced to the music of the Monticello High School Chamber Music Group.
The festival was made possible through the joint efforts of the Sullivan County Cultural Foundation, the Sullivan County Music Educators Association (SCMEA) and the staff of CRMC.
The music program included the Liberty Middle School Wind Ensemble and High School Honors Choir, the Monticello High School’s Chamber Music group and Jazz Band and Tri-Valley’s Jazz Band, Brass Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra.
Lori Orestano-James, Tri-Valley Music Director and Chair of the SCMEA, explained how the festival came about, “I was a patient here a while back, and I was treated wonderfully by the staff. I wanted to do something special for our hospital.
“This is our thanks to CRMC for all the services you give to our community; this is our way of giving back. I also want to thank Jodi Goodman who helped make this possible,” added Orestano-James.
The hospital was beautifully decorated thanks to several groups.
A tree donated by Ferndale Antiques Marketplace was decorated by the Sullivan County Cultural Foundation, the Community Garden Club of Liberty and CRMC staff.
Students from the Cooke School in Monticello made decorations for the “Giving Tree.”
The Tri-Valley FFA and the Tri-Valley Floral Design Class, under the direction of Student Advisor Tara Berescik, provided wreaths, garlands, poinsettias and 200 carnations for the patients. Tri-Valley also donated 200 patient gift bags.
The patients appreciated the entertainment and the students. Anna White, 108, smiled and sang along with the Monticello H.S. Jazz Band as they played Duke Ellington. A patient greeted Jesse Martinez with “Shalom.” Julia Spriggens wore a court jester’s costume as she juggled and pedaled a unicycle around the hospital. A CRMC staff member marveled, “She said she only learned how to ride that unicycle eight months ago.”
The students and their teachers gave a wonderful gift to CRMC. To paraphrase a quote on a quilt hung in the Skilled Nursing Unit, “The greatest gifts cannot be purchased – they come from the heart.”

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