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My Funny Valentine('s Day)

Musicians: Alice Zawadzki (violin & vocals) Nat Keen (guitar & vocals)

Love was in the air at Bridgeside Lodge on Monday as Alice and Nat helped residents celebrate Valentine's Day, playing in communal spaces and visiting bed-bound residents in their rooms.


Activities manager Yvette had asked residents for some words about love. What love means to them, how they've experienced love throughout their lives. (we've kept the second one anonymous!)


Alice and Nat created an underscore over which residents' words were spoken while others were turned into songs. Alice may have a claim to the first time "Romeo and Juliet" has been rhymed with "Nowadays, with the internet".

This was the third occasion that residents have been asked for their thoughts on any particular subject in the run-up to a Spitz event. (the other occassions being Earth Day in April 2021 and our Winter solstice celebration in December 2021)

Each time, the results have been eye-opening and varied. It empowers residents to bring their own voice to events, stimulates memory and challenges them to formulate thoughts on subjects that clearly have significance for them.


One of there stars of our visit was resident GH. He's come along way since the days when he would rarely join our sessions and preferred to sit-in the same chair opposite the lifts, keeping an eye on the comings and goings (he used to be a forensic policeman!). Around six months ago GH began to sing along to Beatles songs being performed by Spitz musicians. He now regularly participates, singing along with his large booming voice. He has been learning the lyrics from session to session and has even started making song requests. Today he sang along to Somewhere from "West Side Story" in a moment of calm among Nat and Alice's energetic jigs and pop songs. The change in GH has been really astonishing the staff. He is finding his voice - long may it continue.


Care staff, residents and cleaners all enjoying the tunes


The fiancé of resident JB likes to film musicians playing for her whenever he is at Bridgeside at the same time as us. We've known for a while that he sends these videos to many of their friends and family, to update them on her progress and rehabilitation. We learnt yesterday that he also shares these films with her Occupational Therapist and her Speech and Language Therapist. The films help them to see the effect the music is having on her. It's really exciting to have Spitz music sessions used so directly to gauge a person's progress in their rehab and we hope to get some quantifiable feedback from these healthcare professionals in future.


Star percussionist JS was on fine form, drumming on the table and dancing with carers . His openness (both literal - see below - and philosophical) making sure that everyone felt involved.


Our final visit of the day was to resident AS. She had a friend visiting, who we'd met earlier in the day while doing her lateral flow test. We were amazed to hear that they had been friends for 58 years! Alice and Nat performed several songs for her and AS was impressed with Alice's pronunciation of Spanish lyrics!

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