Richard Robling, has been working with us in Wales since 2015. Richard is popular in hospital wards and care homes alike with his upbeat covers of classic tunes spanning the decades.
What made you want to become a Music in Hospitals & Care musician?
I was looking for something musical to do during the day, around six years ago I’d say. I had started a new business, publishing a community magazine and found I had some time and flexibility. I had sung and played in care homes a little and had read about the benefits of music for people with dementia. There was an article about Music in Hospitals (as it was then known) in a local publication and I called them immediately. I was invited to audition soon after and, thankfully, I was accepted. It’s joyous when someone who is seemingly not able to communicate, suddenly starts singing or interacting – almost miraculous. It can be emotional and it’s a privilege!
What have been some of your highlights?
A particular highlight was during my audition at a care home in Cardiff. I was performing Eidelweiss, when a lady suddenly got to her feet, stood beside me and took over the singing — priceless — and I think that’s what got me hooked. I’ve enjoyed doing Lullaby Hour too. On one occasion, in Swansea I think, a young girl stood beside me the whole time, singing along, bowing at the end of each number. Then, as I left, a hand-drawn card was handed to me with a list of songs I could play for her next time. These are precious moments!
How have you found the live stream Music & Memories sessions so far?
It can’t possibly be the same as having an audience in the same room but nevertheless, aided by a couple of requests, thank yous and general comments, I did get a feeling that I was entertaining. A home in Scotland asked me to settle an argument as to whether, due to lockdown, I was wearing pyjama trousers. I wasn’t! They were linen, but that was good interaction and good fun. I read Paul Kerr’s account of his live stream concerts. He said he was able to close his eyes and imagine the ladies in gents there is front of him – I think I did a fair bit of that too.
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