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.
I’d like to thank my friend who, a couple of weeks ago, suggested a few Vera Lynn songs that I might enjoy singing. After listening to them, I decided to sing this particular one called “There’s A Land Of Begin Again.” It’s one of her lesser known songs, but instantly I connected with it, loving the lyrics which resonated with many feelings I’ve experienced throughout lockdown; isolation, loneliness, hopelessness and despair and a deep, deep longing to be re-united with all that I hold most dear.
Vera Lynn is one of my lifelong heroines. Even as a little girl, I loved her rich, warm, comforting voice and the uplifting, inspirational songs she sang. How I would have loved to have been entertained by her, live in her heyday.
“There’s A Land Of Begin Again” talks about new beginnings on the horizon, just over the hill. It’s a real song of hope. I hope it helps lift your spirits and you find yourself looking out, over the hill, towards a new better and brighter tomorrow.
Today, I’ve recorded the beautiful song “We’ll Gather Lilacs In The Spring Again.” It’s a song of hope and my hope is that my recording will help to lift spirits a little and encourage us to look ahead to better times, as we face our third lockdown in 12 months.
The song was written in 1945 by Welsh composer Ivor Novello, for the hit musical “Perchance to Dream”. The stage musical opened at the Hippodrome Theatre in London’s West End in 1945 and ran until 1948. This particular popular and enduring number emerged from the production as World War II drew to a close.
It describes the yearning of parted couples to be together again. It evokes the joy they will feel once they are re-united, and the simple pleasures they will enjoy as they walk together in Springtime amidst the English countryside, whilst the lilac blossom is in flower. Its’ words still seem relevant and poignant over 75 years since it was first written.
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.
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