Bristol Beacon brings festive joy to Bristol residents
In the days leading up to Christmas, and before tighter restrictions came into force, Bristol Beacon lifted the spirits of care home residents with the first of a number of special outdoor performances as part of our Mail A Musician programme.
Between 21 and 24 December, musical duo Ruby Two Shoes –Ella Polczyk and Tara Baggott, both also music practitioners at Bristol Beacon – performed sets outside four Bristol Care Homes residences.
Though the weather threatened to put a dampener on performances, the duo didn’t let that deter them from their mission to bring some festive cheer, as they pushed on with their performances through wind and rain under a gazebo erected outside each home, while residents listened from within.
A uplifting musical surprise
The care home residents were delighted with the surprise, and Quarry House resident June commenting:
“It was lovely to have entertainment on Christmas Eve and the girls made a great effort in wearing fancy dresses, they were really good.”
Vera, from Glebe House in Fishponds added: ” It was nice to have some normality with entertainment after this horrid year! It really was nice to see everyone.”
Geoff Crocker, Chairman, Bristol Care Homes commented, “We at Bristol Care Homes were all delighted to have Ruby Two Shoes bringing such lively and joyful Christmas music to our four homes. Our residents thoroughly enjoyed the event and happily sang along, and our care team found it very uplifting. Thanks to Bristol Beacon for organising these wonderful Mail a Musician events.”
Marcia Ellington, Social and Wellbeing Manager at Bristol Care Homes, added:
“It was wonderful to see the joy on our resident’s faces at these concerts. The atmosphere was magical and it was just what the staff and residents needed at such a gloomy time.
Many residents were still talking about the concerts the next day which was great to hear.”
A personal performance
In addition to the care homes performances, the pair also gave a surprise concert on Christmas Eve to Ella’s neighbour, Marlene Sutton. Ella nominated Marlene for a Mail A Musician performance, saying, “Marlene is a fabulous older lady whom I have been helping out in lockdown. She lives alone, always has a smile on her face and absolutely loves music. She grew up in South Africa before moving to the UK, living in London and working in a music department for a secondary school. She loves listening to live music and I know this would mean the world to her.”
Ella and Tara set up outside Marlene’s home in Bishopston and performed Christmas songs on saxophone and keyboard while neighbours stood nearby and sang along.
Ella said “I absolutely loved seeing the response to our ‘Mail a Musician’ concerts. The residents all welcomed us into their gardens and sang along. We were told by a member of staff that one gentleman, who hadn’t been into the activities room for over 2 years came in especially to listen and watch us play.
Marlene’s concert was wonderful and enjoyed by her and her neighbours, what a privilege to be able to spread a bit of joy during this time!”
Bristol Beacon would like to thank Bristol Care Homes for their co-operation in making these performances possible, and for the support of National Lottery Heritage Fund and Paul Hamlyn Foundation in funding the Mail A Musician programme.
About Mail A Musician
Mail A Musician is Bristol Beacon’s new initiative to deliver the joy of live music direct to the hearts and homes of Bristolians. Mail A Musician is a way that the people of Bristol can send their love to the special people or places in their life, and nominate them for a personalised musical performance.
We are still taking public nominations for Mail A Musician performances, although in-person performances have been paused due to the national lockdown. Online performances can be facilitated – click below to find out more about the programme and make a nomination.