Inter-generational hand bell group creates perfect harmony

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A handbell group is made of up people that are sometimes eight decades apart in age. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A handbell group is made of up people that are sometimes eight decades apart in age. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Franzmeier directs the group some call the “Old Youngsters” using color-coordinated cues. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Franzmeier directs the group some call the “Old Youngsters” using color-coordinated cues. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Organizers say the bond between the adults and children is incredible. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Organizers say the bond between the adults and children is incredible. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Aside from being a fun activity to enjoy, the hand bells also help seniors with arthritis and memory loss. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Aside from being a fun activity to enjoy, the hand bells also help seniors with arthritis and memory loss. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The unlikely friendship of seniors and children eight decades apart is creating a unique musical experience in Ahwatukee.

Each month, a group of seniors ages 86 to 93 and preschoolers ages 4 and 5 meet at the Mountain View Lutheran Church to play hand bells together.

“They’re just another bell ringer, another person, once they get going and it breaks that barrier down,” said Leslie Franzmeier, an organizer.

Franzmeier directs the group some call the “Old Youngsters” using color-coordinated cues.

“I love every second,” said Flo Wilt, a senior citizen.

“This is just wonderful to be out here with the kids,” said Elsie Lacko, a senior citizen.

Despite the huge age gap, the group is quick to point out similarities of the two generations.

“I try to get in an afternoon nap,” said Roseland Barton, a senior citizen.

“We love to color. I hate to say it but we also have short attention spans,” said Lacko.

Organizers say the bond between the adults and children is incredible.

“It’s fun to see them together because some of them don’t have their grandparents and the grandparents don’t always have their children,” said Franzmeier.

“I don’t have my great grandchildren close by so it’s good to have children about the same age,” said Barton.

“It’s like being at home, I had eight (children),” said Wilt.

Aside from being a fun activity to enjoy, the hand bells also help seniors with arthritis and memory loss.

“It soothes everybody. Just playing music makes you happy,” said Barton.

Franzmeier says the early success of the program is proof age is just a number.

“It just makes you feel good to make people happy. They’re good for each other, “she said.

Organizers say the group will continue to practice together with the hope of performing at the preschool graduation of the children participants in May.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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