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  • Writer's pictureKate Millett

“Listening to you children brings me so much joy.”

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Musicians: Ben Hazleton (double bass) and Kate Millett (voice and ukulele)

Photographer: Hannah Lovell (all photographs on this blog are hers)

Our visits on Thursday were mostly one to ones, with room/ bed-bound residents. They were all alert, engaged, and benefited from the individual attention: both the social side of the visit and the musical. When SY’s carer suggested we visit her we were pleasantly surprised by her reaction. SY is non-verbal and rarely makes eye contact, but when asked if she would like some music she said “Yes!” immediately, smiling and looking around at us all. She was very interested in Hannah’s camera. Although she didn’t make much eye contact during the music, we saw her tapping her feet as we played. We jammed and made up a song with J.C, giving him guitar solo sections. He requested 'Stand by Your Man' which neither of us really knew. However, with teamwork, including Hannah’s help, the four of us made an attempt to sing and play a “version” of it. It was a fun collaboration and got J.C laughing:

“Yes, that's it! Yes, again!”

- Resident J.C, BSL

Resident G was eating Ferrero Rochers in bed. He was thrilled to see us and invited us in immediately. It was a lovely scene —the most relaxed and content we’ve seen him in weeks. We serenaded him as he made his way through his box of chocolates, one by one, waving his hands to the music and asking for another song each time we stopped:

“Listening to you children brings me so much joy.”

- Resident G, BSL

G.H does not like being photographed and was still in self-isolation, but we played to her from the corridor. She loves to sing along and dance from her wheelchair - holding each note with almost theatrical passion. G.H’s relationship with music is so powerful. It’s like, in that moment, nothing else matters. We all got lost in the moment, singing and improvising and connecting with each other. After we had sung the hymn 'Jerusalem' together we heard a clapping from the next room. G.H’s neighbour, A.S had been listening and enjoying the music too!

E.J, on the Ground Floor, also loved hearing 'Jerusalem.' As a choir girl she must have sung it many times before, but it was still impressive that she remembered every single word! With her carer Leyla, E.J read some poems, accompanied by Ben’s Double Bass. Their reading was beautiful, peaceful and musical.

“Please come back again, I enjoyed that very much.”

- Resident E.J, BSL

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