Classical Music at Whittington Hospital
“Please could you forward on my massive thank you to the musicians who played today at lunchtime in the canteen. Was the most peaceful I have felt at work in 7 weeks.”
Sarah Parfitt and Gregory Warren Wilson are performing live concerts in the staff room at the Whittington Hospital under full supervision of hospital contagion officers. Distances are kept but the classical music flows and is hugely appreciated by staff. “I was at the Hospital as a Psychologist to support the staff, but two violinists turned up and played and the mood lifted. Job done!”
Sarah Parfitt studied viola at the Royal Academy of Music, enjoying a career playing with many of the UK’s leading orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Concert Orchestra. She is also in great demand as a teacher, holding appointments at two of London’s most prestigious schools. Sarah plays on a viola by George Panormo, dating from 1812.
Gregory Warren Wilson studied violin and composition at the Royal College of Music, graduating with Honours. He spent a year as a member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic before joining the Orchestra of the Teatro Communale in Florence. He is much in demand as a performer, working with many of the UK’s leading orchestras and also as a chamber musician, the Spice Girls, and has recorded with Coldplay. With his sextet, The Oxford Concert Party, he has also worked in hospices and prisons. Gregory also plays for Rambert and the West End Show, Phantom of the Opera. He has published five collections of poetry.
There’s a lot more going on
Our sing-a-longs, choirs, Tea Dances and Music Therapy have nearly all stopped since lockdown except for two Zoom sessions a week for JCare’s Sidney Corob House, a Zoom session for a Clarion Housing scheme, and some live sessions before Christmas in the garden of Notting Hill Housing homes in Mildmay Ward Islington.
Dan Beaulaurier, guitarist and vocalist with the Grace Solero Band did some concerts at Christmas for Notting Hill and online with Grace for Islington Council’s Active Spaces project.
And blistering guitarist and singer Count Marco Magnani was seen playing music for cows last summer (see below) and in 17th century Delft. He’s been playing over Zoom for JCare’s home Sidney Corob and recently he and Dan have been playing in the garden at Notting Hill Housing homes in Mildmay. Big thanks to Marian and Kay, Notting Hill’s social organisers who have worked wonders keeping services going for residents.
Dion Palumbo, our favourite Australian, has been playing every week for the JCare home Sidney Corob as well as doing a lot of work through various mental health organisations during lockdown. See his video below talking about the health benefits of live music on audiences.
And lastly our latest musical addition is Mary Tyler, classical clarinet soloist, who has just begun her online Music Appreciation classes with us in partnership with Age UK. Mary has worked with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Brandenburg Sinfonia. Click here for details.
Looking forward to playing again and keeping in touch with all our clients and users.
We are looking forward to re-starting our regular Tea Dances at Islington West Library and the many Clarion Housing Schemes we used to play at.
We are starting now by going back to playing in the gardens at Clarion Housing Schemes making sure everyone is safe with strictly applied social distancing.
We kept in touch with everyone by phone during lockdown and are looking forward to seeing a lot of people in person at last.
We have been so grateful to Sarah, Greg & Adrian for re-starting the music programme on our wards – it has been so heart-warming to see how much it means to our patients and staff to have music back after some very grim months.
“I loved your songs today. I knew the words to every one. I’ve been diagnosed with early stage dementia and I’ve been feeling so depressed. But you’ve given me hope. I’m going to start doing my exercises again.”
“I recently lost my husband and since he’s gone I’ve been sitting at home or coming here crying and sitting feeling sad. You really cheered me up today and got me moving again. Thank you. Thank you. Please come again soon!”