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2 TU students learn life lessons while living in Senior community

Posted at 10:03 AM, Nov 10, 2023

TULSA, Okla. — "I can't tell you how many times I've heard the phrase 'Isn't it nice to have three grandmas?'" said TU Freshman Shaun Roberts.

If you talk about "the seniors" with Shaun Roberts, you may have to clarify which ones you're talking about.

"When I go to school during the day, I'm hanging with 18 to 20-year-olds, and then I come home, and everyone is like 40 years older," Roberts said.

You see, instead of living in a dorm, Shaun and his classmate Chance Jackson live at Montereau, a senior community.

"It's a lot of fun!" Jackson said.

The students live in the senior community for free; in return, they perform concerts, interact, and hold open practices throughout the year.

"It's an opportunity to spread the love of music and joy of music," says Chance.

The immersion program is a partnership between TU's School of Music and the not-for-profit living center.

Chance and Shaun perform together and include other TU music students. "We've been playing a lot of jazz music, but we're also going to do a classical concert. We'll also have some arrangements of more contemporary tunes at some point, too," Chance said.

"I think it's pretty cool. They bring a little different jive to the place. It's fun to have the kids around," Montereau resident Nick Kerpon said.

The college students have even inspired collaborations with the residents. For instance, Nick and Chance are working on a Veterans' program. "At our Veterans' Day meeting, he's going to play Taps for us, and all the Veterans will stand at attention and salute," Nick said.

The students were handpicked to be here and jumped at the opportunity. The young men say while this finetunes their musical performance skills and saves money, this experience is about so much more.

"I learn something new every day, talking to residents here," Shaun said.

"Befriending a lot of the residents here, that's been the most significant part of it. That's the part that matters the most, forging that connection," Chance said.

On top of it all, they've received some great advice. "Make the most of the moment, and not worry as much about the past or the future," says Shaun.

Nick laughed and said, "They're just like our grandkids- you almost treat them like our grandkids!"

And these two college students don’t mind that at all. They say having an audience of "Grands" cheering them on is music to their ears.

This is the second year of the immersion program. Two female vocalists were part of it last year. You can read more about the history of the program here.

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