My 97.5 deejay and family open window to Christmas carols

Paul Myers

DJ Mike Pesto and his family sing carols safely outside radio caller’s care center window in light of COVID restrictions

VISALIA – In a year where going door to door is strictly prohibited, one local disk jockey went to a window to bring a frequent caller the carols of the season.

Visalia care center West Gate Gardens has been afflicted by COVID-19, leaving many seniors alone for the most heartfelt day of the year: Christmas. West Gate Gardens’ resident Lillian, last name unknown, has called in to My 97.5 FM on more than a few occasions and spoke with DJ Mike Pesto about being alone for the holidays and the toll COVID-19 has taken on her life.

Already in the works, Pesto was setting up a way for him, his wife and children to bring some normalcy to the holiday. He had already sat down with his program director two months before to hash out the idea when Lillian called. The challenge of course was to thread the narrow needle of regulations while still making a show.

Admittedly, Pesto had to scale down the elaborate marching band and choir he would have preferred.

“[The program manager and I] sat down and looked at what we can do with the San Joaquin Valley guidelines…and the only thing they could comfortably let us do is [let our family do it],” Pesto said.

Armed with Christmas classics—Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Jingle Bells, Joy to the World and Let It Snow, all selected by Pesto’s children—the Visalia deejay and his family of four went from bringing joy by playing songs, to singing themselves.

On Christmas Eve at 11:30 a.m. they gave Lillian and onlookers at West Gate Gardens a show of holiday cheer. Absent were the major gatherings that normally illustrate this time of togetherness, but still remained was the season of giving.

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