Rebecca Seymour, Creative Producer for Celebrating Age Wiltshire reflects on the outdoor concert series.
Since April 2021 Celebrating Age Wiltshire have been providing outdoor and doorstep concerts for older, isolated people all over Wiltshire that fit within the COVID-19 guidelines for social distancing but bring joy to those who are vulnerable and have been unable to get out of their houses. We have reached over 1400 people.
Funded by a grant from the Arts Council England Loneliness Programme, 12 concerts took place from April to the end of May in Calne, Chippenham, Box and Colerne, Trowbridge, Salisbury, Harnham and Quidhampton, Cricklade and Melksham.
A wonderful selection of musicians, playing familiar songs for an older generation, visited people in their gardens, on their doorsteps and outside their windows. They were also able to play to larger groups at sheltered housing complexes and care homes and recorded observations of how lovely it was to share memories and music with participants, and the laughter and chat that the music provoked. A clerk from one of the Almshouses in Salisbury commented that "Quite apart from the anticipation of a treat, which did them all good, and the lifting of spirits the music provided, it also resulted in reminiscing of happy days gone by which is always therapeutic".
The concerts have enabled people to reconnect as lockdown has eased. Being able to talk about the music as they listened outdoors seems to be providing a way of socialising and reintegrating for people who are otherwise very isolated. The concerts are scheduled to continue through the summer in other parts of the county, bringing live music to people who would otherwise not be able to access it.