Musicians: Izo Fitzroy (vocals) Marcus Bonfanti (guitar, vocals)
We were back at Northwick Park Hospital this morning, this time on Dickens Ward (yes, him) with musicians Izo and Marcus who were fresh from an appearance on Jools Holland’s TV show. We’d told Alex (Matron for dementia services) when the show was being televised and she had loved their performance.
Needles to say there were Great Expectations for this visit….
Dickens Ward is described as being an ‘acute care’ ward for older people. Some of the patients here will have some degree of dementia-like conditions and illnesses, but aren’t necessarily admitted because of these conditions. It often happens that patients tend to sit up straight in in bed, or their eyes light up when Spitz musicians arrive, as do the staff on the wards, momentarily distracted from charts and computers, and today was no exception. “Wow! Singers! Come on then, what songs do you know?”
There was mingled joy and outrage as Marcus and Izo broke the “no Christmas songs before December” rule with a rendition of Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, immediately followed by Cliff Richard’s Summer Holiday.
Spitz General Manager Thom then convinced Izo to sing one of her original songs for patients, which you can see below alongside footage from Jools’ show.
We were soon joined by patient R. He was talking a walk down the ward on the instructions of his physiotherapist. “I’m 93, need to keep these legs moving!” He was stunned to see live music on the ward and began telling us about shows he had seen at the Hammersmith Palais (a dance hall which first opened in 1919 but which is now home to a PureGym) “I saw all the greats, Glenn Miller was my favourite.”
As Marcus and Izo played, our friend R sat across from the entrance to the bay with tears streaming down his face. He apologised for crying. “They’re so young, and so kind and so brilliant” he said. We told him he mustn’t apologise for being touched by the music, as we all were. As the author who gave his name to the ward once said:
Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before
You can watch Izo and Marcus on Later With Jools Holland on iPlayer here