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  • Writer's pictureKate Millett

Green Hands

Updated: May 3

Musicians: Arthur Lea (piano, vocals) Ben Hazleton (bass) Zak Hazleton (cello)

We celebrated Earth Day at Bridgeside Lodge (BSL) on Saturday 22nd April in the lovely canal-side garden. Musicians Arthur and Ben, as well as Ben’s 10-year-old son Zak provided the music. Zak has been preparing for his grade 3 cello exam and has joined us on several sessions at BSL. The residents always encourage him and he seems to grow in confidence with each visit.

Residents began to arrive, some with family or friends and the Earth Day celebrations started with a sizeable audience! A few residents had several generations of their families in attendance. Resident, O.J, was joined by her daughter, her grand-daughter, and her baby great-grand-son! During the music O.J leaned forwards and clapped along to a song, taking the baby’s hands and teaching him to clap.

The garden has started to flower in the last few weeks and one resident A.N asked if she could have a sprig of lavender to hold while she listened to the music. She smelt the flower and said “I would stay living here for this” ... It was a wonderful reminder of the necessity of nature for mental wellbeing.

During the week, Spitz team member Kat, had been around the home speaking to residents about what the Earth and Nature mean to them. She collected quotes and Arthur deftly and speedily put these to music. Before the set, he practiced with Zak, adding the final touches. The song, ‘Green Hands’, was lovely, warm, and added to the feeling of solidarity and community. Afterwards Arthur said: “Thank you to everyone for giving us those wonderful words.”

Green Hands:

I like dogs,

I like cats,

I like horses,

And that’s a fact

I like ponies,

I like chicken,

I like leaves,

And I like birds singing

Most of all,

I like people,

People and baby lambs

Everything from the earth is a gift,

So hold it gently,

With those Green Hands

Throughout the set, Ben and Arthur encouraged Zak, guiding him through the chord sequences of each song, boosting his confidence to play out. The audience clapped along when Zak performed Bach's ‘Bouree 1 from Suite number 3’, and resident, J couldn’t get over the fact that Zak was only 10 years old.

Mid-way through the set, we took a vote on temperature and whether we should take the party indoors (as it was getting a bit chilly) Resident, S.R, insisted “No, I say no, we stay!” Her brother, sister, and father had come to visit, and they enthusiastically joined the band with backing singing, clapping, and dancing. They were thrilled when photographer Hannah Lovell took a family portrait for them.

As the clouds built it was unanimously agreed that we upped-sticks and seamlessly moved indoors. The band then played one of Arthur's original songs from his newly released album. Arthur wrote this song ‘The Band Played On’ just before the second national lockdown in 2020, after a summer of playing in BSL’s garden. That Autumn had a feeling of impending nervousness towards the approaching Winter. His song channels the shift in mood from those days, but is anthemic and hopeful. It’s an inspiring song and Arthur has kindly dedicated it to The Spitz.

The event came to an end with everyone singing along to Resident J's song: 'United, Together We Are Strong'. Visitors joined in on the choruses, making J light up and passionately begin clapping as he sang.

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