Busy as a bee Bela!
Yesterday Was A Record: Four Sessions In One Day!
I started the morning at 8am with a Zoom wellbeing session for a team in Malaysia: eleven amazing musical staff members singing and doing body percussion together, ending on a beautiful rendition of Bill Withers’s Lean On Me, singing the last chorus unmuted, all out of time and grinning.
It was very uplifting…
Then it was our weekly session at Brooke Mead, with Emma and Penny. Five hardy souls came into the garden, to join in with us playing through the railings, joining in with the music and dancing – all of us smiling at each other.
ResidentT suggested a song for J because ‘she knows all the words to that one – you know, the one about the cow winking her eye!’
This is also a memorable one for him because when we used to see him week-by week in person, T would hold a hand drum between his knees very confidently, saying ‘this is how I used to hold the bucket when I was milking’.
At the end of the session yesterday, T doffed his flat cap and said, ‘I take my hat off to you for coming every week to do this – it means the world to us’.
Next was a physically-distanced and well ventilated session at Hop 50+ with Anna, for three pairs of people (people living with dementia and their companions); it was a really lovely session singing familiar songs and taking requests, as well as some spontaneous soundmaking and various contributions including ‘you’ll never get to heaven in an old Ford car’: much foot tapping, clapping, smiles, and joy.
There was even a song for Freddy the dog. I could tell we’d had an improv training session last Saturday: we were all freer – there was space and it was lovely.
Sometimes in these new times we can get a little stuck in familiar repertoire because of challenges of space or hearing each other – or just simply because it is hard to hold space for spontaneity over Zoom – so whenever there is fully creative space it feels wonderful.
Finally, late-afternoon brought a new workshop: a 50+ jam session cluster in a covered outdoor space: two cellos, two violins, guitar, and percussion. I had made a list of ideas to feed in, in case people needed the safety of a holding form (that feeling of ‘what are we doing? Oh, this’);
I was overjoyed to find by the end that we hadn’t needed it at all. We all listened and followed ideas – a lovely mix of people experimenting, finding things by ear, and not needing to know the note names. A living example of the democracy of improvisation (thanks, Graham Dowdall)!
“At the end of the session yesterday, T doffed his flat cap and said, ‘I take my hat off to you for coming every week to do this – it means the world to us’.
Make Piece Together is a fully interactive performance work: this 45- minute piece connects a series of spontaneous collaborations between cellist and community musician Bela Emerson and individual audience members, who are invited to play and co-create with her for...