I am a semi professional singer based in Yorkshire. Using my skills from performing in musical theatre, since 1996, I've sung at weddings, funerals, special occasions and provided entertainment to the care industry. In 2011, I created my business "Motivational Music" with a specific objective of encouraging the elderly to get involved, make music, sing, move and have lots of fun. My latest business "Singing for the Soul" is an individual, bespoke service, providing live singing for funerals, memorial ceremonies and at the scattering and internment of ashes ceremonies.
Like me, I’m sure you’re thinking of Christmas past and remembering all those family members, friends and acquaintances we’ve not seen this year due to the Covid restrictions. How I’ve missed each one of them and especially my lovely friends in the care homes. It is with a deep sadness that I reflect on the Christmas carols we’ve not sung together in 2020.
So, with all that in mind, here I am singing to each and everyone of you, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.”
I know it’s going to be a very different one but remember, when everything else is taken away, the only constant is yourself. So, just like the shepherds, angels and wise men, look for the star that shines brightly in your life and gives you hope. Keep following it and trust in a brighter tomorrow.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas. I send you my love and sincere hopes for a brighter 2021.
Since the start of Covid 19, I have enjoyed supporting the York Spiritualist Centre by singing at some of their Sunday Zoom services. It’s been wonderful revisiting hymns that I’ve not sung for years. One such hymn is “The Lord’s My Shepherd.”
This Christian hymn, is based on the words of Psalm 23. Its’ words were written in 1641 by Francis Rous. My recording is sung to the tune Crimond which was composed in 1871 by Jessie Seymour Irvine, daughter of the Minister of the Crimond Parish, with harmonies by David Grant.
Before Covid 19, my next few days would have been spent honouring the brave men and women of WWII by singing in Stamford Bridge, Sutton-upon-Derwent, Wheldrake and Doncaster at their VE Day 75th Anniversary celebrations which now have all been cancelled. Instead, I’ve recorded “We’ll Meet Again” in honour of our war veterans and for everyone missing their loved ones during these difficult times. I look forward to brighter days and to seeing you once all this is over.
As Covid-19 began to take its’ hold, and we in the UK faced lockdown, a good friend of mine said “when you feel a bit down – sing.”
And this is just what I have done! Whenever life has seemed uncertain and I have felt alone, I’ve sung. Now I can reliably confirm that singing has lifted my spirits and in turn has helped me to connect with others around the world in exactly the same position as myself.
At home, my study has turned into a recording studio and I’ve had a wonderful time singing lots of songs that I haven’t sung for ages and then learning to turn them into videos.
You can listen to some of my creations by watching them on You Tube
During the Covid 19 “lock down” I’m truly appreciating my memories of events like meet ups with family and friends; enjoying a coffee and cake in a local café; wandering freely in the outdoors and my weekly sing along sessions in the Care Homes throughout my region. Sadly, for the moment, like me, these remain “locked down”. It’s at times like this you recognise and feel the many benefits singing brings, physically, emotionally and socially and the special relationships you share with the elderly.
Spurred on by my loss of singing, over the last few days I’ve had a wonderful time singing in my own home and recording a playlist, which I hope many will be able to enjoy singing along to during this period of isolation.
I can definitely vouch for the personal health benefits I’ve gained whilst doing it. It’s given me a great opportunity to exercise my lungs and feel my sinuses and respiratory tubes opening up. Mentally, I’m feeling more alert and I know my immune system has also been given a boost. Overall I’m feeling brighter, more energetic, positive and less anxious about the world outside.
I am looking forward to singing in a York care home this afternoon where we all will be celebrating the 2019 International Day of Older Persons.
Each year, this day, the 1st October, is celebrated as the International Day of Older Persons. It was first established in 1990 by the United Nations General Assembly. This year’s theme is “The Journey to Age Equality”
There are currently around 700 million people over the age of 60. It is predicted that by 2050, this figure will have risen to 2 billion.
The 2019 theme is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 and focuses on ways of coping with existing and preventing future old age inequality.
I was thrilled to witness residents and staff of Loran House, Hull* raise the roof last Thursday during my latest Motivational Music session there. As one staff member commented afterwards “You really got them going Ruth.” Some residents got up and danced; others moved, sang and made music in their armchairs. The whole room was filled with music, fun and lots of laughter. What a wonderful afternoon we all had.
There are so many physical, emotional and social benefits to be gained from singing and it is my joy and privilege to be able to assist in bringing a room to life during a motivational music session. This is particularly obvious when I work in a care home, where after lunch many residents can be found dozing in their armchairs as I arrive.
Singing is an ageless enjoyment and it is well known that the endorphins it releases reduce pain and improve mood. Singing is particularly beneficial for elderly people who lead a sedentary lifestyle. I have witnessed firsthand how my regular singing sessions contribute to bringing the following benefits amongst elderly care home residents:-
Animated mind, body and spirit
Reduced anger, depression and anxiety
Increased self esteem and confidence
Improved mental alertness which in turn contributes to reducing the number of falls
Increased lung capacity
Increased sense of community
Creating a forum for fun & laughter
*Loran House residential care centre, offers care for clients whose needs are associated with the ageing process and dementia.
Such fun storytelling and making music yesterday down in the woods at the Stamford Bridge Summer Fair near York. This year the theme was the Wild West, a great excuse for us all to dress up as Cowboys, Cowgirls and Indians!
A big thank you to lovely Jane Jardine and Neil Griffin for making my beautiful little camp in the woods and to cowgirls Sue and Jackie for all their help.
Well the weather forecast has improved and it looks like Sunday will be dry all day, so be sure to mosey on down to the OK Coral (Station Club, Stamford Bridge) and join us for this year’s bigger and better Wild West theme event from 11am to 4pm.
There’s something for all the family with a Bucking Bronco, Dog Show, Brass Band, Magic Mal, our regular singing duo The Pokies, gorgeous cakes and refreshing cups of tea, beers from behind the Station Club bar, competitions and lots of lovely interesting stalls supporting the local community. You can learn more about our local history and I’m going to be digging out my glad rags and dressing up as Cowgirl Ruthie telling tales and making music! I’m so looking forward to it. Hope to see you there.
I was enthralled to watch Vicky McClure’s “Dementia Choir” recently on BBC 1 which served to reinforce the benefits I am seeing on a regular basis during my Motivational Music sessions across many Yorkshire care homes. People living with dementia will often feel agitated and restless, but singing helps them feel calmer and more animated. By the end of a session their mood has lifted and often they will engage in some form of interaction and communication with others in their group. It is wonderful to see how the whole energy of the room has lifted.
The right song can instantly transport someone back in time and elicit strong emotions even if they haven’t heard it for years. It is such a privilege to witness a person who cannot speak singing along to a song which has been tucked away deep inside their brain.
I’m also delighted to learn that a national campaign called Music for Dementia 2020 hopes to make some form of music available for everyone with dementia by the year 2020.