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Smithdon High School

Smithdon carollers spread Christmas cheer

Caring young carol singers from Smithdon High School spread some festive cheer when they entertained the residents at two Hunstanton care homes.

The group were all members of our choir and ranged from Years 8 to 10 at the school.

“The students worked through a selection of classic Christmas carols – almost 20,” said Andrea Miller, music teacher and Choir Lead at Smithdon, and organiser of the initiative. “That way the residents at the care homes could choose their favourite songs to sing along with.”

The carollers, who started practising the seasonal favourites in September, first visited Driftwood House, before going on to spend time at Norfolk Lodge – and they were following in the footsteps of Miss Miller herself.

“I grew up with my mum working in a care home, and then working there myself as a teenager,” she explained. “When I was in high school, my friends and I would go in and sing carols with the residents. They loved seeing young people come in to spend time with them, and they loved being able to grab bells and sing songs they all knew.”

“There is a lot of research on the power of music for people who are experiencing Alzheimer’s and dementia, and how hearing and singing songs they know can be so good for them, “ she continued. “I believe it is really important for young people to interact and spend time with the older generation, so that they can learn their stories.

“I reached out to the care homes that were closest to the school, and immediately received a ‘Yes, we would love to have the students in to sing’.”

It was the first time Smithdon students had been able to visit care homes in the community since before the Pandemic.

“Prior to Covid, we had gone carolling in care homes in Hunstanton and Heacham; however, due to the Pandemic, this had to stop,” added Miss Miller. “We tried to go to one last year, but they had a case of Covid and had to cancel our visit.

“The homes I selected this year are different homes than we did in the past, as there are so many in the area, the goal is to try to go to different care homes each year, so that we can share with more people.

“Initiatives like this are really important – especially after the Pandemic, where there was so much loneliness and isolation. Being able to go into these homes allows students to positively impact our community and the people who live it in.

“The students can learn so much through talking to the residents, and the residents get so much joy from the children.”