Our Musician Spotlight for December is Bruce Davies, who joined Music in Hospitals & Care in 1997. His wide repertoire and use of reminiscence have made him a hit amongst older audiences across Scotland.
What made you want to become an Music in Hospitals & Care musician?
Ever since I started performing in public, I’ve understood the power that music has to make any situation better. Having spent several periods in hospital during my teens, I wanted to give something back. It’s well over forty years since I first performed in a hospital or care home, and when a friend alerted me to the existence of ‘The Council For Music In Hospitals’ I auditioned and was happy to be accepted by an organisation which sets such high standards and formalises the work I was already involved in.
What are some of your highlights?
The highlights have been many, and tend to be when something unexpected happens. I’ve sometimes been ‘interrupted’ by someone taking over a song, or even starting a new song, and I become the accompanist! Situations like that are wonderful. Another thing is when I do a routine with the Irving Berlin song, ‘Always’. I approach and include everyone as I go round a room encouraging individuals, in turn, to sing the word ‘Always’ – even if it appears that they are sleeping or there will be no response. I love it when staff members witness a positive response that they never believed was possible. Music has such power.
What does music mean to you and how has it helped you during the pandemic?
I did not choose to be a musician, music chose me – so it has been and still is a central part of my life. I did my last professional face-to-face gig in March, and then in April I started recording a song each day and posting it on my Facebook page; it started as a way to keep my voice and playing in shape. However, the sense of community resulting from these posts made our days more positive – particularly when my stepson died, which was devastating for my wife and me. I’ve also been delighted to do some Music in Hospitals & Care Zoom concerts. It’s a different way of working but, by making the adjustments that make it work, it proves that the power of music is as strong as ever.
Please give today to help improve the health and wellbeing of children and adults through the healing power of live music.