11:59AM, Monday 23 November 2020
A Maidenhead arts centre is launching a 'Concerts for Care Homes' initiative which will see professional musicians perform safely for residents in care.
The free live concerts begin this Thursday (November 26) and run into December, visiting eight care homes.
Performances are led by Cookham-based musician and composer Rob Castell (vocals, guitar), who is joined by Jason Tebble (bass) and Luke Harris (drums).
Rob said: "I’m really keen to play these gigs. It’s a win-win situation really. I’m desperate to gig as I haven’t done so all year. I also get to hang out with my musician mates who I’ve missed a lot.
"I’ve also really wanted to bring some joy to places that are struggling – music can do just that.
"Sadly my father-in-law passed away from COVID-19 in a care home earlier this year and I know what a challenging time it’s been, both for residents and staff. So we’ll be putting on the fingerless gloves and bringing the party - from a safe distance."
The trio will be performing safely outside; in car parks, gardens and wherever the music is in earshot of residents and staff.
On the agenda will be a combination of old classics, rock and roll - plus some Christmas tunes.
Faye Driza, home manager at Cookham Riverside Nursing Home, in Berries Road, said: "We were heartened to learn that there were musicians prepared to bring a concert to Cookham Riverside.
"We were also excited at the prospect, as prior to the lockdown in March we had monthly live music performances of various kinds and had been missing them a great deal.
"I think that our residents will really enjoy this performance and it will make them feel that they have got involved and joined in with the outside world again. I expect to see spirits lifted and faces lit up."
Faye added: "Listening to music is a universal experience - we’ve seen residents who are withdrawn and uncommunicative enlivened by listening to music. The shared experience and friendships that it brings can have a really positive benefit."
'Concerts for Care Homes' has been funded by the Arts Council, while Norden Farm was assisted in launching the project by ward councillors Gurpreet Bhangra and Stuart Caroll, as well as Riverside councillor Greg Jones.
Norden Farm’s chief executive Jane Corry said: "The pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone, but especially for staff and residents at care homes.
"The pressures they have been under have been intense, especially as visits from loved ones have been reduced so significantly since the first lockdown.
"We believe that live music can lift the soul and so wanted to use that to create some moments of joy for care homes."
The idea is part of Norden Farm’s community programme for the pandemic.
This includes a creative arts social club; a weekly online group for older people; online arts workshops for disadvantaged community groups in the Royal Borough, and a variety of arts and crafts and health and well-being classes for adults and children.
Visit norden.farm for more information on the arts centre.
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