This opportunity has been planned with Neil Bennison, Music Programme Manager and follows on from the initial success of a previous live streamed piano concert in the first year of the project. Residents at Millbeck House were excited to welcome the opportunity to be involved yet again. Millbeck was selected in particular as it already has good Wi-Fi speed, which is essential for live streaming and screening equipment which makes the experience for residents viable.
American pianist Jenny Lin gave a recital at the Royal Concert Hall as part of the series of Sunday morning piano series that take place there each month. The live feed and filming was supported by Confetti (Institute of Creative Technologies) and Spool films. The aim behind this programming in particular is to enable access to residents who would otherwise miss out on high quality performances such as this due to their health and mobility needs.
“On the hour, the pictures were beamed up from the concert hall with a suitable air of anticipation. The soloist was introduced and due mention was made to the concert audience of the link to Millbeck. They offered us a round of applause by way of welcome. This went down well with the residents. Jenny Lin appeared in a black top and flowing white skirt, introduced the theme of her programme – song and dance – and then proceeded to play for the next hour. Actually it was dance and song, starting with Russian music, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev, then a Spanish interlude that was a bit of both, leading on to arrangements of Broadway themes made by other classical pianists.
Small glasses of sherry were offered to the residents and guests and we toasted each other quietly but seriously. The residents were attentive, most of them applauding at the end of each piece. There were occasional comments heard, for example about the level of noise, but in general the audience was silent. Several ladies (the resident audience was predominantly female) closed their eyes but were not necessarily asleep as they responded as each selection finished. Most residents did not move much in response to the music but one woman, who perhaps had past musical skills, made quite elaborate fingering gestures on the handbag resting in her lap. At times she tapped her feet. When the Broadway section of the programme was underway she was softly singing many of the lyrics.
I think that the aim of finding a connection with a live audience in the city centre was achieved. It would not have been quite the same just watching a film. The care home audience greatly appreciated being mentioned live from the stage by the announcer. The staff were impressed by the level of engagement and alertness that the residents had displayed. I hope that everyone went into have their lunch in a positive frame of mind.”
Blog written by Professor Tom Dening; The University of Nottingham