Making beautiful music in a Cleveland retirement community

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Inside the Judson Manor retirement community in Cleveland, Ohio, they have about 100 senior residents.

One is 66 years old. One is 77. Another is 93.

And then there's Marissa Plank.

"And I'm 24," said Marissa

That's right, 24.

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Marissa Plank performs at Judson Manor
CBS News

"Just turned 24," she said.

Plank lives in a one bedroom apartment on the 10th floor of Judson Manor.

"I live here with my peeps, as I call them, my neighbors," Plank said. "I'm really just not looking forward to graduating because I have to leave. I mean it's literally the best way to live."

When she's not mingling with the other girls at her retirement community, Plank is a student at the Cleveland Institute of Music. And it was here that she first heard about a deal they were offering over at Judson -- free rent -- in exchange for monthly performances.

It was a deal too good to pass up. So now she and two other college students are fully immersed in their golden years.

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Marissa Plank
CBS News

Initially, some of the residents were concerned about letting in college students, with their wild parties and all -- but not anymore.

"Those young people do a lot for us. They bring us alive," said one resident.

"It's just nice to have the young people here," said another.

"They become good friends," said a third.

And that's the amazing thing, at some point this stopped being about the concerts -- not only for the residents, but the students too.

"It became more like a family than a job," said Plank. "Yeah, they're all my grandparents."

She knows they didn't set the program up for her benefit.

" Yet, I think I get the better end of the deal, I really do," said Plank.

In America, we segregate ourselves as much by the date on our driver's license as the color of our skin. But by reaching across the ages, the residents of Judson Manor have discovered something about people on the opposite end of the timeline -- that they're worth the time.

Residents like it too.

"I think it's a beautiful program. It should be done all over," said one.

"Exactly right, exactly right," said another.

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  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.