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  • Writer's pictureKate Millett

“Tremendous, aren’t they!”

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Musicians: Alice Zawadzki (violin and vocals) and Ben Hazleton (double bass)

“What a lovely way to wake up”

- Resident E.J, BSL

E.J had been napping when we popped our heads in on her 5 minutes earlier, so, not wanting to disturb her, Ben and Alice had visited another resident. E.J, half asleep, had heard the music and come out to investigate. Although we promised her we would call in to her next, and tried to persuade her to sit down (she is a bit unsteady on her feet), E.J didn’t want to miss a minute of the music and insisted on watching from the corridor. Comfortably sat back in her room, E.J hummed along to the music and clapped with the beat. The last few weeks she hasn’t been on top form, so it was wonderful to see her so relaxed and cheerful.

We were accompanied into the Ground Floor dining room by E.J, Sh, and Wale (Sh’s carer.) The music continued in there as carers danced with residents. Wale watched Sh from the door and told me:

“She was so grumpy before, now she is laughing!”

- Wale, BSL carer

The power of music! Wale seemed genuinely grateful for our efforts, and even offered to make us all tea.

The percussions were brought out on the 1st floor! Kate collected N.J from his bedroom and was surprised by how fast he moved when she told him we had musicians performing in the dining room. He didn’t hesitate with the drums, and knew exactly which ones he wanted to use:

“These two are my favourite.”

- Resident N.J, BSL

Watching him on those drums was fascinating. He not only intuitively matched the musicians’ tempo, but also began experimenting with the different tones of the drums to compliment Alice’s violin melody line. He was listening with such concentration and improvising like a true musician. After a few songs he danced with one of the 1st floor carers and we even witnessed him blush after asking her “Shall I lead?” to which she replied: “Of course, you are a gentleman.” When R joined from his bedroom, N.J eagerly tapped him on the elbow, pointed at the musicians and said:

“Tremendous, aren’t they!”

- Resident N.J, BSL

It was a lovely, neighbourly exchange, and a reminder of how music brings people together. O also joined the audience. She doesn’t leave her room very often so it was a treat to see her and chat to her about her new great-grandchild. O was impatiently waiting for her daughter to drop off printed photos of the new baby.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit G.H in her room. She had been for a standard procedure hospital appointment the week before, so safety regulations meant she now needed to self-isolate. Alice and Ben were keen for her to at least hear the music, and enjoy it from a distance, so played to her from the corridor. Sure enough, G.H began to conduct them, blowing kisses, singing along, and calling for more:

“You are my darlings. I love you!”

- Resident G.H, BSL

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