Distinguished charities Live Music Now (LMN) and Musicians Benevolent Fund are working together to enhance the lives of musicians – both young and old – with an appeal to the public to Adopt-a-Musician.
The scheme will contribute to the Government's Older People's Day 'Full of Life' initiative on 1 October 2009 and will lead into celebrations of St. Cecilia's Day (Patron Saint of Music) on 18th November 2009.
Public donations will allow LMN and the Musicians Benevolent Fund to 'adopt' gifted young performers to play for older people, including talented retired musicians, who thought they would never experience live music again. Both charities hope that the initiative will enhance the lives of thousands of older people living in restricted circumstances. Involvement in live music brings proven benefits to health and wellbeing together with new opportunities for sheer enjoyment for people in care settings.
LMN Ambassador, actor, writer and director, Simon Callow said:
"Musicians who work for Live Music Now must be not only hugely talented but also have powerful gifts of direct communication. Performing for the smart audiences at the Royal Opera House or the Festival Hall is one thing, but making their way to people who can no longer get out and about and who may be failing in their focus is quite another.
"It's deeply moving that so many of them are eager to do this; the fact is that they find it moving themselves, and re-charging, especially when they're playing for retired musicians, people for whom music and performance have been a driving force and are now cut off from the joy and inspiration of live music. In my view, this is one of the finest initiatives in classical music for a long time."
David Sulkin, Chief Executive, Musicians Benevolent Fund said:
"The Fund has been supporting LMN for many years and is completely behind what the organisation aims to achieve – the benevolent work that has such high value for older professionals and helping talented young musicians get to grips with the role of music in social settings. The Adopt-a-Musician initiative will no doubt have a profound effect on both young and older musicians".
LMN will stage many activities around Older People's Day on 1 October 2009 which will highlight the benefits of live music. There will be a special commemoration on 18 November at St. Paul's Cathedral and The Guildhall with the Musicians Benevolent Fund to celebrate St. Cecilia's Day.
It costs £400 to 'adopt-a-musician' and to send outstanding, specially trained performers to play in a day centre, residential home, hospice or other settings for older people. All donations are welcome.
Richard McLaughlin, an accomplished professional composer, pianist, organist, harpsichordist and a Musicians Benevolent Fund beneficiary, who lives at Compton Lodge Residential Home, in London said:
"How marvellous it was to be among professional musicians again and to be able to 'breathe' music once more. The visitors did a good job, full of fun and happiness."
Alison Lee, Proprietor, Woodlands Residential Home, Surrey, who recently hosted an LMN performance for residents, said:
"I have never, in all the 30 years of running care homes, seen my residents, so quiet, so entranced, so still and so emotional."
"It gave the residents a chance to have some real professional music-making which many thought was something they would not experience again in their lifetime."