Joy of music connects the generations

A WOKING-based project that connects people of all ages through their love of music is inviting anyone across the borough and beyond to get involved.

Intergenerational Music Making (IMM) was set up by Horsell resident Charlotte Miller to get children to visit care homes and hospitals to sing and play music to and with the residents and patients.

MUSICAL MEMORY – Colin and his choice of favourite song, recorded by Nayan on his trumpet

In June, the News & Mail reported on how IMM was operating remotely because of coronavirus and was running a project called Care to Create with stories, poems, drawings and paintings created by children from 15 schools across Surrey, often as part of their home schooling, being sent to care homes and hospitals.

IMM has further expanded its work and launched #musicalconversations, in which people post the name of their favourite song or piece of music and a musician plays it for them.

Mica Bernard, from IMM, said the #musicalconversations movement “aims to engage and connect generations through the sharing of cultural heritage, musical stories and creativity”.

She added: “We are determined to encourage all communities; promoting the voices of both the young and the old from any age or background whilst offering a platform for those whom we work with within the care, social, education and health sectors. Rooted in this action we are sharing a message of creative hope by lifting up the voices of those who are using music to build creative connections.

“We have spent the past month witnessing the most incredible and creative sharing of music, culture, identity, love and community via our private #musicalconversations Facebook group. We believe that intergenerational relationships are a key part of building back strong communities post COVID-19.

11 year old Nayan with his trumpet

“It is vital that we find creative ways to engage and reach those living within care homes and connect them to the wider community.

“IMM uses music as the catalyst to bridge these social divides. We believe this project has the momentum to promote intergenerational connections while we are still unable to bring the two groups together in person.

“The sharing of culture and heritage through music is powerful and will contribute to new thriving intergenerational communities once the pandemic is over.”

The project is being run in collaboration with Chineke! Junior Orchestra, which was created by the renowned double-bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku in 2015. The multicultural orchestra was set up to give people from minority ethnic groups the chance to play classical music.

Colin Bennett, 93, a resident of Silvermere Care Home in Cobham, told IMM that he missed the weekly visits from the young singers.

Mica said: “We thought Colin would be the perfect person to be involved in our #musicalconversations so we asked him to send in a picture of him holding the musical conversations template with his favourite song and why.”

The song was You Make Me Feel So Young, the Frank Sinatra hit, and Colin said it was his favourite because he once got the chance to sing it at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The tune was then recorded by 11-year-old Nayan on his trumpet and sent to Colin.

He told Nayan: “I’ve just heard your recording played to me and I must say you are an amazing musician.

“I congratulate you on doing my favourite song which I’m going to sing to you now.”

Colin then sang the song on a video that was sent for Nayan and shared on the musical conversations Facebook page.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/immmusicalconversations/

For more on this story, get the 1 October of the News & Mail

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