• Kate Millett

“It's like a weight is taken off my shoulders"

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

Musicians: Nat Keen (guitar) and Graham Hughes (double bass and voice)

After a few months of intense work, involving two to three BSL visits a week, our musicians have built friendships and bonds with the care home community. They know individuals’ needs and can cater to them musically. The residents and staff trust them and look forward to their visits. It is a testament to our wonderful musicians, their musical skills as well as their sensitive approach to our audience, that they are able to lead sessions without needing Spitz staff to oversee. The more personal sessions have had a powerful impact on the isolated residents, many of whom have not been able to see loved ones all Winter. The below is an account of their visit on the 5th of March:


They brought a varied repertoire to BSL, ready to either sooth residents or get them dancing. J.C on the 3rd floor was eager to use his guitar and join the lads in a jamming session. He sang along to some jazz classics like ‘All Of Me.’ We are always moved by his enthusiasm and musical memory. S.B another lyricist: recited her favourite poem ‘Scotland The Brave’ to music, singing them to the tune and musical accompaniment of Jimmie Cox’s ‘Nobody Knows When You’re Down And Out.’

G.H enjoyed some Irish folk music. She sang along to ‘Danny Boy’ which seems to be one of her new favourites! A gentle Irish Waltz called ‘Sí Beag, Sí Mór’, relaxed her. She seemed to recognised it and listened intently:

“She closed her eyes and seemed to be transported somewhere far away.”

- Nat, musician

Next door, A.S, a recent Spitz fan, kindly welcomed the musicians into her room. She is always very hospitable. The peaceful mood spread up the corridor. AU, who is gentle and shy, sat on her bed to listen to Nat and Graham, quietly connecting to the music.

“It's like a weight is taken off my shoulders when I hear the guitar”

- Resident AU, BSL

Our resident drummer N.J has been getting more and more creative with his beats. He clearly works with the musicians, either following their tempo or leading with changes. When he uses our percussion collection he alternates between the different pitched TomTom drums, matching the musicians harmonies - seriously impressive skills! When he doesn’t have the percussions he improvises with table tops, his own knees, and, as was the case on Friday, the arms of his chair. Graham described how he was enthusiastically drumming drum breaks to Ray Charles’ ‘I Got A Woman’. N.J’s neighbour, R, soon came out to join, smiling and dancing in the corridor, cheered by the music and entertainment.

“He had a beaming smile as we approached, he was trying out some gentle swaying dance moves as he listened to Bob Marley’s 'Waiting in Vain.'

- Nat, musician

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