‘It’s a feel good thing’ for Briesemeister and Kocina

August 4, 2008

By Jen Bakken
Staff Writer

“We love to play for them – it’s a feel good thing,” said Damon Kocina who, along with Alan Briesemeister, has been bringing music to the residents of Golden Living Center in Delano for over two years now.

After meeting at Light of Christ Lutheran Church, the two men began singing with a group called Men in Sweaters.

On Christmas, and sometimes other holidays, the men would blend their voices for local performances. And, yes, they did wear sweaters

“They had so much fun practicing for us, mainly because of our great audience, I convinced them to come monthly,” said Golden Living Center Activities Director Kara Reiser. “They have so much energy. Everyone can’t help but love their harmony and the different instruments they play.”

Now on the third Wednesday of each month, Kocina and Briesemeister have been welcomed to Golden Living Center, although they are often in sandals rather than sweaters. “Men in Sweaters” was the male section of the Light of Christ Lutheran Church choir.

Kocina and his wife, Cynthia, have three children, Ashley Ostrander and Gage and Nikolas Kocina. He operates Strategic Graphics out of their home in Delano.

Briesemeister and his wife, Cindy, were both teachers for Delano Public Schools, and will soon be traveling to Zimbabwe, Africa, to teach and experience another culture.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Briesemeister. “We have a two-year contract and are really looking forward to it.”

The residents at Golden Living Center need not worry what will happen on Wednesdays now that Briesemeister has left for Africa, because Kocina will continue to entertain with his wonderfully raspy voice.

On Fridays, some residents are allowed a glass of wine or a beer, so Kocina and Briesemeister decided to play for them on a recent Friday in July, and have a beer as well.

Phyllis Chinn sported a smile and played the tambourine during the entire show, and declared Kocina and Briesemeister are the kings of music. Dorothy Elliott couldn’t help but clap along, and Claude Teas kept the beat on the drum.

Briesemeister impressed the fun crowd with his guitar playing, singing, and great harmonica skills, while Kocina played guitar, proved he is a talented singer, and cracked jokes in between each song.

“They are always good with interacting with our elderly residents,” said Reiser. “Having them play different instruments is a plus. They play a variety of songs from each era. It keeps the interest and pleasure of song for all.”

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