Superact’s health and wellbeing work is going from strength to strength, with September seeing us bring a range of musical acts to healthcare settings across Bristol. Our usual monthly tour took place with the Paper Moon Band running participatory Music & Memories sessions for older people and those with dementia, held in partnership with Reminiscence Learning; and soul star Lady Nade taking to the wards of Bristol Children’s Hospital to liven things up for staff, patients and visitors alike.
The month also saw the second annual Fresh Arts festival at Southmead hospital, a celebration of all artistic mediums from the weird to the wonderful including origami, wall painting, guerrilla textiles, giant calligraphy, live poetry, woodworking, wheelchair dancing and a knitted bus stop! Superact was excited to be involved providing musicians to perform around the wards of the hospital, rendering the event inclusive and accessible to all.
Over the two days we provided four diverse acts that toured the wards, outpatients clinics and therapy rooms of the North Bristol hospital: Belshazzar’s Feast, a talented accordion and violin folk-comedy duo; the Alice Phelps Band, with soulful voice and popular tunes accompanied by trumpet and double bass; Lady Nade, Bristol’s finest jazz-blues artist; and the York Trio, playing a mix of hits from the American songbook. The music brought a breath of fresh air to the clinical environments and was clearly enjoyed by all. Staff and patients danced round the wards together, tunes inspired group singalongs, and when Alice asked if they wanted to hear one more, a patient called out ‘can we have ten more?’!
Our musicians and helpers also found the experience enjoyable, and at times profoundly moving. The powerful effect that music has on wellbeing is brought home and the difference their work makes to people is so clear in the hospital environment, something Lady Nade found after an intensive two days health & wellbeing performances:
‘This weekend was so amazing! It was so nice to make an impact on young people and adults alike. At one ward a delicate song aided an ill child to fall asleep, at another ward there were smiles from a young girl who hadn’t been able to listen to music for over a week, we played her favourite song and this made her day. We were also able to play some rock & roll, jazz and swing on request.
We witnessed big smiles, laughter, relaxed body reactions; some children would tap and clap along, some adults would be overwhelmed with joy and ‘you’ve made my day’ was ongoing feedback’.
One of our chaperones, Pete Warner, was blown away by the experience:
“I had a great time at the Arts Festival, the patients responses were really great, especially some that followed us round the ward and one woman who said it had made the whole experience of hospital much lighter and easier – that was a wonderful thing to hear. As well as joining in the singing and percussion with the York Trio, chaperoning them was an easy task thanks to the help of the wonderful staff at the hospital. I look forward to my band the Gin Bowlers getting involved with Superact in the near future too!”
We’re already looking forward to next year’s festival… In the meantime, we welcome Flight Flute for October’s health and wellbeing tour next week and look forward to adding Cossham Community hospital to our list of regular tour venues.
For more information on Superact’s health & wellbeing work, including partnerships and what we can do for your organisation or group, contact Ursula@superact.org.uk