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  • Thom Rowlands & Kat Whitehead

Blue Monday

The third Monday of January is known as Blue Monday and is considered to be the most depressing day of the year. We decided to tackle the blues head-on by running live music sessions at two locations on the same day, for maximum impact.

Musicians: Ben Hazleton (double bass) Marcus Bonfanti (guitar/vocals)

Session number one was at Northwick Park Hospital with Ben Hazleton and Marcus Bonfanti playing on two geriatric wards (Fielding and Fletcher). The duo played a familiar mix of blues classics and pop, folk favourites. Ben and Marcus took requests from patients and staff which culminated in a raucous singalong in the centre of the ward to Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire. Medical staff joined in with patients and visitors singing and clapping and we were treated to a magnificent display of flossing from the engineers working at the end of the ward. (video below not to be missed!)

Our relationship with Northwick Park Hospital is strengthening all the time. It’s a real joy to bring live music to patients, most of whom are in hospital for a couple of weeks following an operation. Equally moving is seeing the impact on staff. The NHS is the most wonderful organisation and one we at The Spitz feel so passionate about. Bringing some joy and light to the working day of all staff up and down the chain is a humbling experience that always leaves us with full hearts as we leave after our sessions.

Musicians: Arthur Lea (piano/vocals) Melissa James (vocals) Pete Wareham (saxophone)

Our afternoon session took place across all four floors of Bridgeside Lodge, featuring the wonderful Melissa James (vocals), Arthur Lea (piano & vocals) and Pete Wareham (saxophone).

We kicked things off in the dining room on the ground floor, where we were happy to find JR ready and waiting to get involved. The band played a few upbeat tracks to get the room warmed up. JR was particularly engaged and joined in harmonising very beautifully with Melissa, before then singing along to another big Bob Marley favorite ‘One Love’. Ms. JC arrived shortly after the session began, drawn in by the music, along with her brother who danced contentedly to Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World”.

Moving onto the first floor, we were greeted by Residents SR, DB and OJ. DB kept coming in and out of the room unsure whether to join in or not. We were so pleased when he finally settled into a chair and let himself relax and enjoy the tunes, showing particular appreciation for Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

SR was especially engaged with the session and seemed upset when it was time for us to move on, so asked her carer if she could come up to the second floor with us. We were so pleased she was able to and that she also sparked a trend, with a couple of other residents following suit, joining us on each of the subsequent floors, keen not to miss a beat. This was especially positive as residents have only recently been able to move between floors (one of the covid containment measures was for residents and staff to stick to their own floor within the home).

By the time we reached the third floor we pretty much had a full house, although Mr. JC was conspicuous by his absence, due to an appointment taking place at the same moment. The band played on despite feeling a bit disappointed not to see him, but ten minutes into their set, JC arrived all broad smiles and wielding his guitar, ready to jam along - which further lifted the room.

Melissa, Arthur and Pete are an incredibly talented trio, all three are very successful artists in their own right. They created a truly stand-out session for the residents, families and carers of BSL that day, with several people up and dancing, leaving us feeling that we had redefined Blue Monday using the power of live music as we’d hoped!

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