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  • Kat Whitehead

Spring Equinox at Bridgeside Lodge

Updated: May 24

Musicians: Alice Zawadzki (violin, vocals) Ben Hazleton (bass) Jay Phelps (trumpet)

Today we welcomed trumpeter Jay Phelps back to Bridgeside Lodge after not seeing him since before the pandemic. Jay joined Spitz regulars Alice Zawadzki and Ben Hazleton in delivering a special live music session to mark the Spring Equinox. Sensing everyone's enthusiasm, carers set to work rearranging tables and chairs so we could accommodate residents from both the ground and first floors, all keen to be part of the action.

Opening with ‘A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square’ Alice noticed that resident JG knew the words, and gently encouraged her to sing along. J-BL and her partner Matt then joined, followed by DG who’d travelled down from the 1st floor, ready to soak up the buzzy atmosphere. Jay’s muted trumpet was such a welcome addition to today's line up. We all relished his frequent solo’s bolstered by Ben’s rhythmic bass lines, GH often reacting with a ‘Wow, wow!!’.

“Any requests?” came the invitation from Alice, at which point Ms GH’s son David requested the Dean Martin classic “Sway”. As the slinking pulse of the song emerged, GH appeared from under her India-Jones-style fedora to enthusiastically conduct Alice’s violin. Resident HF showed his appreciation during Gershwin’s ‘But Not for Me’ with a loud ‘very good!’ as activity coordinator Yvette danced in her chair.

Moving up upstairs, residents from both the second and third floors had already congregated in anticipation. ML particularly enjoyed the first track, Fats Wallers’ ‘I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter’ giving an extra long clap as it ended. The band continued to play, drawing in further residents, including JC, guitar at the ready. Alice spotted that his guitar was out of tune, so halted proceedings to tune it for him, asking “Can you just hold my violin for a sec, mate?”

JC was in fine form today, jamming along to ‘Hold it Right There’ often adding a bluesy ‘Yeah baby’ over the lyrics. The band spotted his enthusiasm and encouraged him to lead the instrumental solo, Jay grabbing a shaker to accompany him. Yvette also joined in the call and response ‘Wait a minute baby.. Hold it right there’ ML sat by her side, swaying in time to the music.

Resident AS was celebrating her 90th birthday. Or rather, elongating her birthday celebrations, it was actually last Saturday. But you don't become a nonagenarian every day so we say why not!? She arrived with two big shiny 90th birthday balloons attached to her chair and quickly got into the spirit of things, clapping and cheering ‘yeahhhhhh’. We all sang Happy Birthday and then Alice lead the trio in a Spanish number, which AS was very grateful for, saying ‘I love you very much my darling’ and blowing kisses.

Alice continued to impress us all by switching languages again and performing a moving Polish song ‘about falling in love with someone who has beautiful dark eyes, that doesn’t love you back’, which gave us a moment to reflect on our own past romances.

The session ended on ‘On The Street Where You Live’ from My Fair Lady. JC kept making to to eat his pastry and then putting it back down again, deciding that clicking his fingers was more of a priority! It was a very moody morning, but the session seemed to bring the sunshine out and we all left with a bounce in our step, feeling that Spring had well and truly sprung.

During our sessions we're often witness to tender moments between residents and carers. The kindness and compassion of Bridgeside Lodge staff is extraordinary and we feel privileged to bring music to them as well as to the residents they care for.

Compassion and generosity of spirit are two essential qualities of a Spitz musician. But sometimes they just need to let it rip. After Alice wrapped up the chorus of "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm", Ben and Jay dug in...

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