• Thom Rowlands

Plan B...

Updated: Sep 7

Musicians: Sara Oschlag (vocals) Thom Rowlands (piano)


Today we welcomed jazz vocalist Sara Oschlag back to Bridgeside Lodge for the first time since the pandemic. Sara was due to team up with pianist Pete Lee but by Wednesday morning his PCR test result hadn't come back (we're required to have a negative PCR test result in order to enter BSL).


We're constantly dealing with small hiccups and curveballs in the day-to-day course of our work. Often these are unavoidable so the challenge is about finding solutions in the face of the unexpected. As the clock ticked down and Pete still didn't have his test result, plan B became for Sara to duet with Spitz GM Thom on piano instead, who said:


"I'm not much of a jazz player, so this was definitely me

outside my comfort zone, but being able to play with

and learn from someone of the calibre of Sara is a

great opportunity to improve and develop these skills."


While waiting for their lateral flow test results, Sara and Thom discussed which songs they could play, creating a setlist in the iReal iPad app. This is a very useful resource for musicians, a digital version of The Real Book, which collates hundreds of jazz standards as well as pop and rock songs.

Sara and Thom started off playing for Jackie, who was having a visit from her fiancee Matt at the time. Matt filmed the below video (which is used with permission).


Sara asked about a number of residents who she remembered from her last visit in 2019, namely residents GH and JC. With GH they sang Beethoven's Ode To Joy, GH's strong voice booming out the melody with her usual gusto. She then showed Sara her many notebooks, in which she practices writing as part of her rehabilitation.


JC, Sara and Thom wrote a new blues song about a break-up, created on the spot from JC's endless imagination. He asked about local recording studios where he could cut an LP of the myriad songs he has written with Spitz musicians over the past few years. We reminded him that the album has already been started! If you missed it, you can read about our studio session here.

After the session, Sara spoke about her recollections of the last time she sang at BSL (in 2019). At that time, our work was focussed more on group sessions, held in the communal dining rooms and therefore took more of a concert / audience format. Social distancing meant that this was not possible in 2020 and so we worked on more of a 1-to-1 basis, visiting individual residents in their rooms or playing to much smaller groups in the communal spaces. Sara felt that this more intimate way of working meant we were giving more and having a greater impact as a result of getting to know the residents more closer than we would in a large group session.

Regular readers of this blog will know that this is very much the view that we have formed over the past 18 months (and in fact before the pandemic as well). We look forward to welcoming Sara back to Bridgeside Lodge soon!

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