Wreckers in Tune Finds Their Rhythm in the Community By maddie phelps '19

“Respect your elders.” It’s a renowned phrase that adults constantly preach to younger generations as a reminder that wisdom comes with age. While some kids might find it monotonous, others, including Staples students, have truly taken the saying to heart.

Wreckers in Tune, a musical group made up of talented Staples students, have dedicated themselves to sharing their passion for music with the local community since 2012. Staples graduate Nick Vega, now a junior in college, started the club in hopes of spreading his personal adoration of music with the rest of the town. When he graduated in 2014, his sister, a member of the class of 2016, took things from there. Upon her graduation last year, a new president had to step up. Gabriela Vega ’18, eagerly took on the role, continuing what has become a family tradition of leading this group of talented young musicians.

“I come from a very musical family, and my siblings and I perennially see the joy it brings seniors when the youth expresses their musical talents with them,” Vega, the president of Wreckers in Tune, said.

Gabriela Vega '18, president of Wreckers in Tune, sings while Chris Puchala '18 plays the drums.

While each member brings their own contribution to the band, one thing is certain: every member shares a love for music. “I enjoy being part of wreckers in tune because it is a unique opportunity to give back to the community through something I love to do,” Max Herman ’19, a member of Wreckers in Tune, said.

On March 9th, the high schoolers provided a perfect opportunity for locals to stop by and enjoy one of their shows. Bound for The Westport Center for Senior Activities, the group packed up their guitars, keyboard and drums for an hour of lively performances.

The Westport Center for Senior Activities, located just outside downtown Westport, opens its doors daily for senior citizens to enjoy a variety of activities. Whether it be Latin dancing, sculpting or pilates; the options are diverse and seemingly endless. One thing is certain; no senior will find themselves unoccupied with each visit to the center. This performance would be no different, as the high schoolers of Wreckers and Tune took to the stage with a prominent sense of enthusiasm and respect for their audience of elders.

The Westport Center for Senior Activities after an evening of performances from Wreckers in Tune.

The teenagers hoped to warm up a cold March evening for the seniors with a wide-ranging collection of notorious music. The line up ranged from modern day hits of Maroon 5 to classic favorites from John Lennon. While the genres and era of the songs varied greatly, there was something that remained constant no matter who was performing or what was being played. Each member of Wreckers in Tune offered nothing less than a passionate performance every time they took the stage. Smiles, laughter and emotion were contagious as the teens possessed an energy that filled the entire room and everyone in it. Undoubtedly, the passion was fueled by the audience; the supportive senior citizens who appreciate them, their talent and the evident hard work put into each performance.

“At the senior center we’re appreciated no matter how we sound; the performances are very informal and easy going,” Monique Prior ’18, another member of Wreckers in Tune explained, “They’re more about sharing a common love for music, and more than anything, having fun.”

Chris Puchala ’18, who played the guitar, drums and sang for the elders, recognized their consistent indulgence in the group’s performances. “Playing music with Wreckers In Tune is fun because the old folks we play for don't care if our music isn't good,” Puchala said, “...They love it. I think it's the small things in life that count for them.”

A group of elders enjoy Wreckers in Tune's performance.

After the instruments were all packed up and another successful show at the senior center was in the books, the teenagers took a step back to look at the bigger picture, recognizing their experiences and contributions as members of the group.

“Being part of this group has allowed me to obtain a better understanding of the importance of giving back to our community and especially our senior citizens,” Herman said. “Just spending an hour with [the senior citizens] can really make their day and it is such an easy gesture to make.”

Chris Puchala '18 entertains the audience with his performance on the guitar.

A Wreckers in Tune performance is certainly the place to be for music-craving locals or even high schoolers who want a taste of the talented musicians that roam the halls of Staples everyday. If the members themselves hadn’t made it clear enough, this is a group devoted to pursuing music and entertaining the community, whether that may be for the young or the elders of the town.

“Not only does [Wreckers in Tune] offer a great outlet to practice your music in a low-pressure setting, but you truly feel good about yourself after putting the time in to bring some music and a young scene to the elderly homes,” Prior said, “Our audiences seem to really like our performances, whether it’s a place to sing along to their favorite Chuck Berry song or be included in the Staples musician scene.”

A few members of Wreckers in Tune wait to perform for the senior citizens.

As president of Wreckers in Tune, Vega acknowledged just how special this group was and the happiness they were spreading with their performances and gifted young musicians. “Being president, I really feel more attached to my community as I reach out to many different institutions,” Vega said, “The main thing I’m going to take away, though, is the feeling I get when we perform. I know that although it may not be a big deal to us, it means the world to them.”

Tags: Wreckers in Tune, young musicians, senior center, community, talent

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