A 21st Century Tea Dance
Musicians: Louise Messenger (vocals) Pete Lee (piano) Mussinghi Brian Edwards (tenor sax) Ben Hazleton (double bass)
The Spitz has collaborated with Entelechy Arts for many years and our relationship continued on Tuesday when we were asked to provide a band for their "21st Century Tea Dance" at the Albany Theatre in Deptford.
Entelechy Arts is a creative charity based in Lewisham in South London, which produces vibrant and important cultural programmes, created by and for the communities they work with. Participants tend to be isolated older people, those living with profound and multiple disabilities, and those living in care home environments. Entelechy's works enables people to play an active and visible role in the creative life of their community.
This was the first large scale event at The Albany since the pandemic and as a result was based on the idea of homecoming. Participants discussed what "home" meant to them, poems were read and songs sung on the theme of home. For many attendees, this was the first time they had seen friends since the pandemic began and there was a great sense of reunion and being together again. The event was live-streamed and many would-be attendees joined us via Zoom, their smiling faces being projected onto the large screens inside the Albany Theatre.
The Spitz band of Louise Messenger, Pete Lee, Mussinghi Brian Edwards and Ben Hazleton played throughout the afternoon, performing jazz favourites, some pre-requested Abba numbers and even a Bond Theme for participant Bobby, who we learned is a big Bond fan and was over the moon with Louise's rendition of "Diamonds Are Forever". Despite her having never sung it before.
The day was summed up later by one of Entelechy's practitioners:
"It was so good to see the tea dance back on. So much warmth and
joy in the room. A lot of care, judgement, planning and improvising.
I'm just so pleased that it happened, rebalancing the equilibrium
of life. Impacting all our lives, creativity and socialising."