This week I took my HS jazz band to a couple places to play. One was a nursing home, the other an intensive care facility. I have done the nursing home gig for about 4 years now; I always have the students interact with the residents when we finish playing. (Greet them, talk with them, etc. For some of the residents, it makes their week). Yesterday was no exception to that; however, I met my lead tenor player in the hall outside the rec room where we played, and she looked rather upset about something. I spoke with her and asked what was bothering her. One of the residents, she said, began crying and said she wanted to go home. It turns out this lady was 100 years old. We talked a bit about the things this person must have seen over the course of her life; she was a living history book, and has had a rich life that is longer than most of us can expect, unfortunately. Today, we played at a facility that houses people with extreme disabilities or severe deformities. They were so happy we were there! Clapping, shouting joyful things, laughing, squealing with delight, hitting a tambourine. I wanted to share this because it reminds me of how fortunate we are here; of how precious this gift we have is, and how short it is; how we need to treasure it by sharing it. I hope my students got that, too. Band directors...take a select small group out to these facilities if you have never done so. Get a quartet, quintet, jazz band, whatever to go out and share our gift with them. You and your students will reap a long lasting reward for your efforts.