Elburn volunteer encourages all to play, sing for residents
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Marklund residents are treated to musical entertainment two to four times a month, but volunteer Michael Kilberry has made it his mission to bring even more music to the facility.
Kilberry, of Elburn, helps out every Monday evening at one of Marklund’s six residences for people with severe disabilities, whom he calls â€œfriends and angels.â€
Kilberry said some residents can only see and hear, and rely on those senses for pleasure.
â€œThat is why live music is so important for them,â€ Kilberry said. â€œIt feeds the soul.â€
Many local organizations, such as the Elburn Girl Scouts, go to Marklund to sing in the complex’s activity room for residents there, particularly during the holidays. Now that the season is almost over, Kilberry wants the public to know that anyone who sings or plays music, no matter what level of talent, are welcome throughout the year.
â€œWe won’t turn anyone away,â€ Kilberry said.
Volunteer coordinator Cathy Nikrandt said Marklund supports the idea of adding to the musical entertainment the facility already has, and said that anyone interested, from a solo act to a group of performers, should arrange a time with her so that activities do not overlap.
Kilberry envisions people presenting music as they stroll from building to building, or provide live music during residents’ dinner hour.
â€œIt would be uplifting and relaxing for them before they go to bed,â€ Kilberry said.
Nikrandt said music also could be presented in the classrooms for a few minutes during the day in Marklund’s main building when residents are there.
Nearly all of those served are confined to wheelchairs and have severe cognitive deficits. Most also have complex medical problems that require 24-hour skilled nursing care.
Kilberry decided one day last summer to stop in at Marklund on Wyatt Road, which he always drove past on his way to work.
â€œHe just showed up and said, ‘How can I get involved?’â€ Nikrandt said.
Now, during his weekly visits at Marklund, Kilberry provides â€œhands on handsâ€ assistance for residents, guiding them in such activities as opening Christmas presents.
Kilberry hopes that as more people go to Marklund to present music, more people will get to know the residents and be inspired, as he was, to volunteer in other ways.
Those interested in providing music for Marklund residents may call Nikrandt, at (630) 593-5468 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Elburn Girl Scouts and family members recently sang Christmas carols for Marklund residents. Courtesy Photo