BARRINGTON – In light of Earth Day, Prairie Middle School students presented Barrington area seniors with a "Lunch on the Prairie" April 22. Brunch and entertainment brought smiles to many who have been attending the annual event since it began in 1997.
About 20 seniors registered for the free event sponsored by the school's student council. The outing was arranged as part of the Barrington Area Council on Aging's monthly Cuisine Club which usually meets at community restaurants. BACOA volunteer coordinator Kitti Quarfoot said all BACOA activities draw a diverse crowd with some participants as young as 50.
"It's a nice way for residents to be able to enjoy themselves if they otherwise don't get out much," Quarfoot said.
Mary Smith and June Dettman of Lake Barrington said they have attended the brunch several times.
Smith said it's great to be out and around the kids.
"I'm amazed by the student performances every single year," Dettman added.
Attendees were seated in the school's library media center with a menu selection of sandwiches and side dishes. Several student council volunteers took orders.
The event kicked off with the Prairie Middle School IMEA Orchestra Ensemble performing many pieces by Johann Bach. This six-person orchestra was chosen through formal fall auditions, according to music director Michael Nelson.
Nelson said the group began rehearsing for the BACOA event in January.
Student Council co-director Diana Horrigan said "Lunch on the Prairie" was the student council's "last big event of the year."
Two eighth-grade student council members, Amanda Platt and Tanbi Sharan, played a flute duet for the audience. Other acts included choir performances and solo ballads by students who will perform in "Annie – The Musical" at the school May 1 to 3.
It was Horrigan and fellow teacher Megan Smith's second year planning the event. Brunch monies came from student council fundraising activities such as Valentine's day candy and basketball concession sales, Horrigan said.
The seniors mentioned that the menus and by–order service was new to them this year. Horrigan said the goal is to make attendees feel well taken care of by giving them "top, restaurant-like treatment."
New to the BACOA lunch group is Lavetta Garrison who has just moved to Barrington from Hastings, Neb.
Garrison said she began attending weekly BACOA lunches in January and has since met some great friends.
Before the students bid their guests farewell, the group collaborated for craft time. Flower pens were made using simple materials – a ball-point pen, floral tape and an artificial flower.
The seniors took their new pens home as souvenirs after listening to the school's madrigal choirs.
BACOA lunchers will meet again May 20 in Lake Barrington.
If you go:
BACOA CUISINE CLUB
When: Noon, May 20
Where: ZaZa's Tavola Italiana, 5047 Shoreline Rd., Lake Barrington
Cost: $22, includes soft drinks, tea or coffee and gratuity
Info: Seniors meet for lunch weekly at area restaurants, giving diners the chance to sample local cuisine and visit with friends.
Visit www.bacoa.org or call 847-852-3892 for information.