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Healing voices, helping hands for the holidays

Woodbury High School Choir students sang Christmas carols to Woodwinds Hospital patients last Thursday, including former Opera singer Guss Gutman. 2 / 6
Choir director Daryl Timmer leads the students as they stroll the hospital to spread holiday cheer. 3 / 6
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Middleton Elementary student achievement specialist Michelle Grundner puts a finger on a gift being wrapped by Renilda Kosel, an English language learner teacher at the school. 5 / 6
Melanie Wilson, a parent volunteer at Middleton Elementary, tapes up wrapping paper on a present for a needy family during a gift-wrapping event Dec. 19 at the school. 6 / 6

Members of the District 833 community reached out last week around Woodbury to spread some cheer for those whose holidays were in need of some merriment.

Dressed in black tuxedos and ball gowns, a group of Woodbury High School Choir students strolled Woodwinds Health Campus last week singing Christmas songs and spreading holiday cheer.

The group also surprised a former opera singer as he was getting ready to leave the hospital after a week-long stay.

Former Austin Lyric Opera and East Metro Symphony Orchestra singer Guss Gutman, 78, immediately began singing Christmas carols along with the group the minute they stopped at his room.

“It moved us all,” said Nancy Kohen, a friend of Gutman’s. “It meant a great deal to all of us.”

Meanwhile, at Middleton Elementary, volunteers wrapped gifts on Dec. 19 for needy families.

The gifts – or funds for the gifts – were all donated by Middleton families. After volunteers wrapped up the gifts, they were delivered to the nine families selected to receive them, which comprised 42 children.

The gift effort is part of an ongoing aid program Middleton operates to serve struggling families. The holiday season began with a Thanksgiving meal for the families and, later, the donation of warm children’s clothing.