Our Musician Spotlight for April is Kirsten Easdale and Gregor Lowrey. This Celtic folk duo joined us in 2013 and have performed almost 300 live music sessions touring the length and breadth of Scotland, from the borders to the highlands and islands.
What made you want to be a musician for Music in Hospitals & Care?
Gregor: “For many years before working with Music in Hospitals & care, I enjoyed playing tunes in hospitals and care homes. I first heard of the charity from the late Ewen Sutherland, a Blairgowrie guitarist/vocalist who was working for Music in Hospitals & Care at the time. Kirsten and I attended an audition and began concert touring. The work has been deeply rewarding and during this period of lockdown, it’s the gig that we miss the most.”
Kirsten: “Because I thought I could make a positive contribution to the charity. My parents both sang and played instruments, so I have never known a time in my life without live music. My son Stuart is Autistic and he loves music. He doesn’t usually pick up the words very well but he’s bang on time and tune.”
What are some of your highlights?
Gregor: “There have been so many stand out moments during our time working with Music in Hospitals & Care, with a whole range of emotions being triggered from laugh out loud to a lump in the throat.
I remember a Blairgowrie man with advanced dementia who was only able to interact in a small way; we found out that he was an accordionist and his instrument was in his room. We asked the nurses if they thought it would be OK to bring the accordion through so that he could have a wee tune with us. It was astonishing that when he played, all his motor skills suddenly came back to him as he played. We could see the man’s eyes lighting up with the joy of it.”
Kirsten: “I love listening to senior folk telling their stories and memories that have been evoked by a particular piece of music or a song. It’s also wonderful to suddenly find yourself amidst an outbreak of dancing, whether that’s a slow waltz, in a nursing home, or something a bit livelier, in a day centre. It really makes your day, and always puts a big smile on our faces.
It’s difficult to pick one concert or workshop that stands out, but I suppose the most rewarding concerts are when staff chat with us afterwards, and tell us (on occasions, tearfully) how someone has not spoken a word for months, and then suddenly they say something like “My father played the accordion” or when people who have advanced dementia, sing along and know all the words to a song.
I can honestly say, having been fortunate enough to have toured all over the world, performed in big venues and sung at major events, that touring for Music in Hospitals & Care is my ‘favourite gig’.”
Please give today to help improve the health and wellbeing of children and adults through the healing power of live music.