THE HEALING POWER OF MUSIC
CHELSEA & WESTMINSTER HOSPITAL
Concordia believes that music can play an important role in providing support and comfort to those in poor health. We have therefore developed a long-standing relationship with Chelsea & Westminster Hospital where, on the first Thursday of every month, we present a public lunchtime recital in the atrium for all patients, families and staff.
A wide variety of Concordia Artists have taken part in these recitals, from Klezmer Artists to Instrumentalists to A Capella groups, showcasing classical favourites alongside some lesser known gems. After the recital, the Artists go on to the wards to perform directly for those patients unable to get down to the atrium.
Have a look at the concert diary to find out when the next public recitals are taking place.
Patients and Concordia Artists alike benefit from these experiences:
“I was specially touched by playing in the wards. One young gentleman was notably moved and said “I have to say I’ve been emotionally caught…thanks!” In my whole musical career it has been one of the times where I have felt what it is to get to the listeners. I’m very thankful to Concordia Foundation for involving me in such an uplifting musical experience.”
“…Thank you Concordia for this incredible opportunity. I have played for an audience of over a thousand before but this was one of the few instances that I really felt my music was transforming someone’s life.”
“Two women arrived on Nell Gwynne ward with a piano and started to perform songs from popular musicals. Very quickly a lovely ambience began to spread in the ward. We spent a wonderful 20 minutes or so singing to piano accompaniment and were heartily applauded at the end of the session. This was visiting time of course and there were a lot of patients’ relatives who were most appreciative as there were some very sick people who were given a beautiful spiritual uplift as a result. For myself, I went back into my room feeling completely different. I was enthused with optimism and joy and couldn’t wait to get back to the land of the living.”
Memory Lane Training Programme
In September 2013, following the success of the ward visits at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, a weekly session called Memory Lane was introduced. Every Monday since then, Concordia Pianist and Singer Maria Marchant has gone on to the Nell Gwynne stroke and Edgar Horne dementia wards to perform a programme of popular classical, jazz, film and show tunes. This brings entertainment and some familiarity to the patients and their families, who are invited to ask for any requests! The regular sessions have developed into a Training Programme, in partnership with the Royal College of Music, through which we are able to offer places for up to four pianists to participate in thorough training, led by Maria Marchant and staff at the hospital, with regular opportunities to perform on the wards.
As of January 2016, Maria has been joined by this year's participants, Robert Cheung, Stephanie Onggowinoto, Lucia Sanchez de Haro and David Soo, with Memory Lane sessions now taking place twice a week.
UCH MACMILLAN CANCER CENTRE
On the first Wednesday of every month since December 2014, the Concordia Foundation has delighted listeners at UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre with beautiful live music, providing the unique opportunity for young Artists to perform in the hospital’s main space and on the chemotherapy ward. This concert series has been extremely rewarding for patients, staff, carers, visitors, and Concordia Artists alike.
Working closely with the Concordia Team, Artists from top music colleges in the UK perform music carefully selected to appeal to a wide audience, including light classics and popular repertoire. Concerts are held in the main reception of the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre, followed by performances to patients on the chemotherapy ward.
Listeners appreciate the consistently high level of musicianship displayed by Concordia Artists. A carer thoroughly enjoyed the “absolutely fantastic music played with precision and care,” with Nick Gilbert, Head of Fundraising at the UCH Cancer Fund, noting the “really great music” and “fantastic choice of pieces”. Another patient, a professional opera singer, was delighted that he had turned up an hour early for his appointment, remarking that it was “such a pleasure to have live music while you wait”.
Rose Hinton, Concordia violinist and graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, performed with pianist Gamal Khamis in March 2016. Rose commented that feedback from listeners “filled me with a sense of pride that our music really made a difference to them and their experience at the Centre. I felt honoured to be part of the process, and to be able to share music with the patients in order to alleviate at least an inkling of their suffering.” Gamal Khamis, graduate of the Royal College of Music, Concordia Artist since 2010 and now an International performer, said: “We took a huge amount from performing at UCH - the staff and audience were extremely supportive and welcoming, and it was a great chance for us. I would definitely recommend this, and would love to play there again.”
This positive feedback from patients, carers, visitors and staff drives Concordia’s mission to continue this rewarding concert series, and makes the experience invaluable to the Concordia Artists that perform.