Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Sunny Side of the Street


Recently I went to Bridgeside Lodge Care Home in Islington to see for myself the work carried out by the Spitz Charitable Trust. It was set up by my old friend Jane Glitre to 'relieve social isolation in local communities through the power of live music.' Bringing professional musicians to perform alongside the residents of places such as Bridgeside, at this gig vocalist Emine Pirhasan was accompanied by Arthur Lea on keyboards performing songs by Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers, Ben E King, Jonny Nash, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong and Jimmy Cliff. Not a white cliff of Dover in sight, which tells us all we need to know about the speed of time! The home overlooks the Regent Canal and when I looked across the water at the Hanover Primary School I could see kids in the gym skimming about the floor to music. There was no skimming here at Bridgeside, but there was movement of mind and body which was at least as impressive. John had been wheeled into the room slumped to one side and apparently asleep. But as 'Stand By Me' opened he started tapping his feet and mouthing the words. In another wheelchair Julia's initial contribution of loud vocal exclamations gave way to hand and arm dancing in perfect rhythm with the musicians. Song sheets were handed out and most joined in with their favourites. One woman who didn't seem to be aware of her surroundings grabbed a rattle and with determination moved it and herself into the rhythm. A lot of the songs referred to sunshine. 'On the sunny side of the street', 'You are the sunshine of my life', 'Sunlight hurts my Eyes' and my favourite for this bright sunny winter morning, Jonny Nash's, 'Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind, It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.'

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