As accordion music fills the “streets” of Hilltop Grand Village, you might think a polka band is in town! When “The Honeybees” visit, they share their love of music so people can enjoy old-time favorite songs and reminisce. “The Honeybees” are LeAnn Gotz and Clara Elsen – both on accordions. Other musicians have volunteered in past years; but Clara – a long-time member of “The Jolly Eight Band” – has been volunteering as a “Honeybee” for the past four years. Together, the pair volunteer to play music at local nursing homes, assisted living facilities and senior lunch sites.
LeAnn started the group when a friend who lived at Nekoosa Court asked them to come and play. “We’ve been there every month since then,” said LeAnn. “Now we volunteer our music whenever we are called!”
“My husband and I were leaders of the five piece “Debonairs Orchestra” from 1976 until his passing in May 2004,” said LeAnn. “On August 27, 2005, I joined Julie Allworden and her sister Joan Meeteer in playing for a crowd at Edgewater Haven. One of the sing-a-long songs we performed was ‘The Honeybee Waltz’ so we decided to call ourselves ‘The Honeybees!’”
“Our music is happy music, and we want to share it with others,” said LeAnn. “There is a need for more musical entertainment for the elderly and shut-ins. We are meeting - and making - new friends wherever we play.”
“The Honeybees” are always looking for musicians to join them! “We need more accordion players, or even another instrument like a horn or piano,” said Clara. “Dancing is also volunteering! It entertains the people who aren’t able to dance anymore. But they enjoy watching!”
“The Honeybees” also have volunteers handing out song sheets so residents can sing along. “So the happy music goes on and on and you can see volunteering goes back a long way with these Honeybees,” said LeAnn.
“Volunteers give of their own time to make other people happy,” said Clara.
“Volunteering brings the satisfaction of serving others, sharing stories and talents, and feeling good because you make others happy,” echoed LeAnn. “If you, yourself, want to be happy and feel good inside and out, then volunteer. Try it… you’ll love it!’
If you are interested in volunteering with “The Honeybees,” you can call the Volunteer Center at 715-421-0390 or visit www.volunteerinnerwisc.org. Or if music doesn’t strike your chord of interest, we can help you find another opportunity that fits your interests and talents.
The Volunteer Center is an internal program of United Way of South Wood & Adams Counties. It serves as a clearinghouse for volunteers and agencies. Our mission is to mobilize and inspire people to utilize their talents and enhance the community.
• Name: The Honeybees - LeAnn Gotz (80) and Clara Elsen (77)
• Nominating Agency: Hilltop Affiliates Assisted Living
• Residence: LeAnn lives west of Port Edwards and Clara lives in Nekoosa.
• Family: LeAnn has three daughters; Clara and her husband have nine children.
• Hobbies and interests: LeAnn enjoys visiting nursing home residents, writing cards to shut-ins, playing music and baking. Clara enjoys sewing, eating out, camping and traveling (south for the winter).