Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 18 December 2009 00:00
HSBC Vice-President Robert Valli and his trusty guitar have been entertaining the folks at AHRC (Association for the Help of Retarded Children) Day Care facility for the last 25 years.
He gathers a group of people who sing “back-up” for him and he then goes through an extensive repertoire of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs, as the clients join in and have a wonderful time singing with the group. It is always a welcome event for the folks at AHRC and they look forward to it every year as they correctly remember the words to each and every Christmas Carol from year to year.
The first venue was at the Brookville facility and the Valli singers were there for the better part of the 25 years. However, that facility closed and became an Autistic Center, so many of the folks moved to East Hills and the site of the former St. Mary’s of Roslyn School.
Unfortunately, this year the singers were given some very sad news. The East Hills facility will be closing shortly and many of the clients there will be transferred to various AHRC facilities throughout Long Island and it seems there will be no place where they will all be centrally located.
There is one bright spot though the coordinator of programs, Norman Glanzman has been moved to a facility in Sea Cliff and the Valli singers may join with him and his group next year to entertain.
East Hills Director Diane Egan said, “It won’t be the same. Here our clients are able to stretch out and have more freedom as we have so much room. Plus, they have the added advantage of being able to ‘work out’ in a gym. But, I am afraid in the other facilities they may be confined to just one room and that would be sad.”
The group, as they always do, ended this year’s program with the singing of Anytime and with Valli saying, “Anytime you want us back, we’ll come right back to you.” We all hope so.