SEFFNER – Grandparents play an important role in children’s lives. So important that in 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a federal proclamation establishing National Grandparents Day the first Sunday after Labor Day. It falls on Sept. 8 this year.
Seffner resident Judy L. Perez wanted her grandchildren to honor their great-grandmother, Ann Rivers of Lutz, on Rivers’s 90th birthday. Perez wrote “The Grandparent Song” and taught it to two of her four grandchildren — Nora Lancaster, 3, and Finn Lancaster, 8. They are the children of Perez’s daughter, Amanda Lancaster, and her husband, Ian Lancaster of Valrico.
“When they sang it to GG, she cried,” said Perez.
Although she didn’t write “The Grandparent Song” specifically for National Grandparents Day, “it’s a song that would work for [that] and many different occasions, even no occasion at all,” she said.
Online at www.thegrandparentsong.com, Perez offers a free download of the words so children can learn to sing or recite the song, with help from parents or teachers.
There is also a free, printable page with the lyrics and space for a hand print that is suitable for framing.
A CD of the music is available for purchase. It contains the song in two forms: one with vocals and accompaniment for learning the song and another instrumental version without vocals as a karaoke-type background track for children to perform the song for their grandparents.
Perez, who moved with her husband, Dennis, to the Brandon area in 1978, has enjoyed singing since she was 6, writing poetry since age 14 and playing guitar for 40 years. For many years, known as “Miss Judy,” she led congregational singing of religious children’s songs at a Mass for young children at Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon. She now serves as a music minister for weekly Catholic Masses at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa.
Her other grandchildren, Cooper and Eagan, live in Valrico with her son, Ryan Perez, and his wife, Katie Perez.
Contact Perez at firstname.lastname@example.org and online at www.judylperez.com.
Send news of community interest to Barbara Routen at Neighbors@tampabay.rr.com.