On Sunday 23rd April Glebefields Nursing Home celebrated St. George’s Day by hosting its own original musical, based on the myth of George and the Dragon with the residents, their family members and staff making up a 15-person strong chorus!
Over the past five weeks, 5 actor-musicians from the local area have been working with the residents of Glebefields to rehearse and devise this musical through interactive workshops. Armed with song sheets, percussion, swords and crowns, the ‘Glebefields Chorus’ performed chosen classics such as ‘Oh, what a beautiful morning’, ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ and the firm favourite, ‘L-O-V-E’ whilst the action unfolded on stage led by actors, James Barlow and Lisa Nicholls.
Voices Across Time wanted to bring together their work in audience participatory musicals with their research and knowledge in music for wellbeing. The recognition of the benefits that music has on health and wellbeing has increased dramatically over the past few years with much research emphasising the effects that music can have on memory and communication. This was certainly seen between the residents of Glebefields whose engagement with the songs they loved saw boisterous percussion accompaniment and rapturous singing along with the re-telling of many stories from their lives. It also allowed the opportunity for residents to interact with their care staff and fellow residents in an energetic and fun way which resulted in much ‘singing in the dining room’ throughout the weeks.
“The past 5 weeks have been fantastic…the residents have loved it, they have spoken about it every day! When you have been, they have constantly been wanting to practise the songs ready for the next week, they have been looking forward to what they are going to wear on the day. Their weeks seem to have gone quicker because you know, they’ve been busy thinking about what they are going to be doing and planning what they are going to be doing and they are constantly talking about it to each other…it’s been really really good!”
Carla, Customer Service Support at Glebefields Carehome
“Coming week on week you notice the difference in their [the residents] confidence and in their willingness to perform..We focus on interactive singing and we do vocal warm ups which we run through with our accompanist, he…builds their confidence and ability and we notice by the end of the session, they are in full singing voice!”
Lisa, Voices Across Time Musician
“We know the residents have really enjoyed it, and they have been talking about it when you haven’t been here and they have been looking forward to you coming back in again”
Natalie, Caregiver at Glebefields Carehome