Tag Archives: jazz

Benslow – bringing musicians together

Seven musicians, amateur and professional, met as a group for the first time on Monday evening 31 October. By Wednesday afternoon they were performing in local nursing homes. Where could this happen? … at Benslow Music Trust, of course!

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Bill Bates, our percussionist, had made arrangements of popular standards exactly to suit the line-up. Clarinets were in the majority, with course leader Margaret Archibald joined by Craig Maxwell who featured especially on bass clarinet, Sue Young doubling on B flat and E flat alto, and Chris Timmis holding the principal clarinet part. Judy Wang had brought her flute all the way from Taiwan especially to take part in the course at Benslow, and ‘cellist Jane Richardson doubled on voice and keyboards in an ensemble that was remarkable for its flexibility.

20161103_1224470As always, coping with the luggage was a problem. Percussion for audience participation in the Latin American number added several bags to the total on this occasion…

20161103_122435…and getting Bill’s kit from Benslow to each nursing home made it necessary to allow at least half an hour before and after each concert for setting up and taking down.

Concerts at Elmside Methodist Nursing Home, Symonds House (Leonard Cheshire Disability), St Catherine’s Nursing Home and Benslow Nursing Home completed our tour. All the care centres are now old friends, and we were given a warm welcome at each one. Thanks to Benslow’s collaboration with Everyone Matters our concerts seem now to be well established in Hitchin care homes as an annual event. “It was a brilliant experience”, wrote the Activity Coordinator after the performance at Elmside, “and we loved the way everyone interacted with the residents”. The response from Benslow Nursing Home was simply “Thank you so much to all for a magical afternoon”.

Jazz Sunday

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Ten players crammed into the music room at my house in Bromley on Sunday afternoon 27 April. Peter Nichols was making a welcome return after his jazz improvisation workshop last year, and many of the players had returned for another session when Peter would show them that they really could simply make it up.

The room became even more of a “jam” in every sense of the word as friends and family crowded in at 6p.m. to hear the results of our afternoon’s music making.

Many thanks to everyone who played, who listened, who stayed for the party afterwards, and who contributed to the funds of Everyone Matters to help towards the costs of our forthcoming intergenerational project on 20 June at Bishop Justus School and Coloma Court Nursing Home when we will celebrate National Care Homes Day.