Thoughts From A Patron

Posted on February 1, 2017

Simon and Gabor

Patron Eileen Eastwood discusses her experience of Manchester Camerata over the festive season.

On New Year’s Day I went to the Camerata’s Bridgewater Hall concert and experienced a wonderful transformation to my flat post-festive mood. Light, joyous and fun, it was like drinking a glass of champagne with no harmful side effects! Grafting away at the back of the orchestra was the percussionist Janet Fulton who I’d been fortunate to see in November, working in another Camerata capacity at the Sunnyside Care Home in Droylesden. She was there with another musician, Brigitte, working with a group of residents with dementia, as part of Camerata’s Community Health and Wellbeing project.

It was uplifting to see Janet and Brigitte work so sensitively and lovingly with this group, who were obviously stimulated by the session. Melody and rhythm spoke to them and brought them out of their isolation as they joined in with percussion instruments and voices. There were many smiles and happy eye-contact! One lady, extremely bent and silent in her wheelchair, became sparklingly animated as she recognised a familiar old song, every word of which she could remember. Also present was a former pianist, anxious that he could no longer remember how to play, who was patiently encouraged to pick out tunes on the keyboard. (As Janet pointed out, the fingers could still remember.)

Music has such transforming powers, as I’m sure all followers of Manchester Camerata know. It is brilliant to see this being brought out of the concert hall to positively benefit other members of our community.