They were decades apart in age, but Sunday night, they joined voices for a concert that defied any generation gap.
It was the first of two performances of "Sing – For a Lifetime!," an intergenerational venture between the Edgewood High School Chamber Singers and the chorus at Oak Crest, a retirement community in Parkville.
The teenagers and seniors had exchanged letters for several months but rehearsed together for the first time just several hours before the first show.
Another show was scheduled for Monday night. Both were held at Oak Crest's chapel, which was filled Sunday with Oak Crest residents and Edgewood parents and friends.
Sallie Horner, director of Oak Crest Village Chorus, had the idea for an intergenerational concert and met with Jeffrey Winfield, leader of Edgewood's Chamber Singers, with the proposal.
Edgewood was selected by Nadine Wellington, Oak Crest manager of community resources and a 1972 Edgewood High graduate.
Wellington heard the Chamber Singers perform after she was inducted into Edgewood's Hall of Fame two years ago, she explained.
"To me, it was a no-brainer," she said as residents and students piled out of the chapel in high spirits after the show.
The two choruses sang a few songs separately and came together for numbers like "America the Beautiful," "Set Me As a Seal," "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Rhythm of Life."
Sopranos and altos from both groups joined each other for "We Sing! We Dance!"
Tenors and basses, meanwhile, sang the appropriate "When I Was One and Twenty."
Edgewood chose "Imbakwa," a Swahili song from Tanzania, while the Oak Crest Chorus went with a solemn "Benedictus" and two Mother Goose madrigals.
"Working with Oak Crest was a wonderful experience," Andres Rivera, a senior at Edgewood, said after the show. "It's nice to sing with other people, especially with elderly, to harmonize with them. It's nice to hear other voices."
Michael Dzambasow, also an Edgewood senior, said the Oak Crest residents brought a different musical perspective.
"They grew up in another generation, so a lot of the notes in their voices and the way they interepreted the music, it's a lot different from how we interpreted it as teenagers," he said. "I enjoyed every minute of it."
Winfield, who led Edgewood's singers, said the students and seniors also learned about each other's experiences by writing letters about their interest in music and their own past.
"It's been wonderful, the whole exchange of the letters that we received from them," Winfield said, noting the students realized many of their experiences were ones the Oak Crest singers had also once experienced.
Although the two groups met for a pizza party, Winfield said there was some trepidation about the joint concert at first.
"The residents here, everyone was so scared when they got there and started singing," he said.
Although it was a "challenge" to not rehearse in advance, "everyone was prepared, so we were able to make that work," he said.
Winfield thought the students will appreciate the experience even more when they are a bit older.
"The kids are going to realize in five, 10 years, probably, how awesome it is," he said.