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  • Ursula Sagar

Covid robbed care homes of their entertainment

Musicians: Alice Zawadzki (vocals and violin) and Luca Boscagin (guitar)

At the end of last week London moved to Covid Tier 2, bringing with it a raft of new regulations for the Spitz and BSL to navigate. We’re working hard together to find the best ways to continue our performances which the residents value so much in a way that’s safe for all involved and compliant with new measures. For now at least, music lives!

Today we welcomed much-loved regular Alice Zawadzki on vocals and violin accompanied by her guitarist of choice Luca. resident E.J was very impressed. “Was that one a bit fast?” Alice asked at the end of Caravan, and E.J replied “no! Faster!” Come the halfway point we had an excellent showing of faces in the garden, both familiar and new. H.S brought his wife G (who is often sadly confined indoors) out to enjoy the concert, and when the band shouted out for requests H.S asked hopefully if they knew anything in Turkish. Not only did they produce a beautiful traditional song from memory, Alice even made a valiant stab at the lyrics in their native language, reading from her phone. G listened with a transported expression and H.S shed a few tears, complimenting Alice on her pronunciation. The range of styles we were treated to today was just as diverse, even including some singalong Bob Marley which went down a storm. It was lovely to see E.J's quietly emotional reaction to hearing her favourite Danny Boy played so beautifully. New resident N.J pulled up a spot in prime position and was absolutely focused throughout the set, smiling widely and clapping his hands in time with the music. He told me at the end how very professionally organised and relaxing he’d found the show, that nothing in quite some time had taken his mind off his problems like this, and that he hoped very much he’d see us again.

A BBC article came out last week about the plight of those in care homes whose vital sources of entertainment and enjoyment, including music therapy, had been removed by Covid exactly when they were needed most. It really brought home to us how important the work we do at BSL has been, and we hope very much we’ll find a way of adapting to the increasingly wintery conditions and continuing our sessions into coming months.

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The Spitz Charitable Trust 

Charity Number 1155033