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  • Writer's pictureKate Millett

BSL & Spitz Christmas Party

Updated: Mar 5, 2021


Indoors - Alice Zawadzki (voice & violin), Ben Hazleton (double bass), Kate Millett (voice)

Outdoors - Marcus Bonfanti (guitar and voice)

“I love every Christmas song. They make me feel like a girl again. I feel all warm inside now.”

- Resident M, BSL

“I really enjoyed this evening. Thanks everyone for all the great experiences this year. Playing at Bridgeside has been a real highlight for me in what has been a pretty up and down year for everyone so thanks for giving me the opportunity to do something worthwhile with my time and music.”

- Marcus Bonfanti, Guitarist

Being able to celebrate the festive season at Bridgeside Lodge felt especially poignant this year. After getting our negative Covid test results, we were able to roam the corridors of the care home, playing music as the residents enjoyed refreshments in the dining rooms. Unlike last year, due to restrictions, the different floors were not allowed to mix. So instead, there were four, smaller and less rowdy parties for us to musically accompany! Golden festive hats were passed around, crackers were pulled, and both staff and residents got up to dance. Social distancing and PPE were strictly adhered to, but the afternoon was no less warm and festive as a result. Unfortunately, our usual photographer Hannah Lovell had to isolate after her flatmate tested positive. Thom rose to the occasion as ‘roaming photographer’, but it was still a harsh reminder of the bleak reality of the current climate for our team.

The dining rooms were the best place for us to perform, as most of the residents had come to enjoy the spread. We were greeted with enthusiasm on each floor and it was hard to leave each time. Everyone sang along, put in requests and enjoyed the parties. Alice sang pretty much anything from Irish jigs, seasonal songs, birthday wishes, and even an Italian love song; her voice lending itself beautifully to whatever was needed. A couple of residents weren’t well enough to leave their rooms, so we visited their bedsides.

E.J was particularly thrilled to sing along to ‘Once in Royal David’s City.’ Although we knew that she’d sung in choirs most of her life, we were still blown away when she remembered the descant section in the final verse:

I sometimes forget the words, but that tune will never leave me. It’s lovely to hear it again.”

- Resident E.J, BSL

While E.J and her carer Leyla read poetry aloud, Ben matched their rhythm with his bass, and Kate hummed Silent Night:

“I really enjoyed that, it was so relaxing and soothing”

- Leyla, BSL carer

After their feast, many of the residents sat in their communal areas, facing the garden, to watch the fireworks display from the comfort of their armchairs (it was drizzling outside but that didn’t stop us!) Marcus had told us he was worried we were going to call and cancel his outdoor gig as a result of the rain, he had been looking forward to it! We all listened to him playing outside and admired the shapes and sparkles of the indoor sparklers. There was a feeling of community, love and friendship. All of us, bound by the trauma of 2020, celebrating and looking forward to a fresh New Year:

“Thank you soooo much... just what we needed in this, our annus horribilis.”

- BSL staff member

Between festive songs, Marcus played classics like Bob Dylan and Bill Withers. Many of the residents were very moved by his music, and closed their eyes to concentrate on the lyrics. A.K stayed until the very end. He even asked to delay his dinner so he could have a chat with Marcus. They discussed music legends, favourite songs, and famous guitar soloists. A.K’s musical knowledge impressed Marcus and the conversation was an obvious tonic for A.K:

“I used to chat about this sort of stuff with my mates all the’ve really made my day, that was magical.”

- Resident A.K, BSL

To which Marcus replied:

“Well, hearing you say that has made my year!”

Throughout the afternoon lots of residents made comments like:

It now does feel like Christmas”, “You really have cheered me up”, and “I love it so much when you lot come here.”

- BSL Residents and Staff

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