Kate Burchill recently retired as Live Music Coordinator South of England and Channel Islands for Music in Hospitals & Care. During her five years with the charity, Kate has been instrumental in developing our programme of live music on the islands of Jersey and Guernsey.
“We started working with the charity Arts in Healthcare when it was founded in 1993 to send our musicians to care homes, day centres, special schools and community settings across Jersey. Then in 1999, Guernsey’s Healing Music Trust was set up and we began a similar partnership. It’s amazing that our musician, singer guitarist Hedley Kay, went on our first tour of Guernsey and has been going ever since. He played there in September this year.
Our musicians usually tour for around a ten day period and will do 25 to 30 live music experiences during that time. This includes morning, afternoon and evening sessions. We usually try to have a variety of genres throughout the year and a mix of soloists, duos and sometimes trios.”
Folk duo Paul Walker and Karen Pfeiffer thoroughly enjoyed their first tour of Guernsey this year. “We all sang Sarnia Cherie [Guernsey’s national anthem] together,” says Karen. “One of the volunteers said afterwards that she had never seen people respond so well in terms of interaction. That was wonderful feedback for us! We perform a totally different set of songs at a care home to at a special school. They should all mean something. And we involve the audience as much as we can.”
Kate reflects on her time with Music in Hospitals & Care: “When we visit a care home and you see somebody not engaged at all and then a few minutes in they lift their head, and then after another a minute or so they’re sort of tapping their fingers or their toes, then swaying in time to the music. I find all of those things very emotional and it makes it so worthwhile.
It has been great working with so many lovely colleagues and musicians who value the work and get so much out of it too. At my age and stage in my career to have found such a great charity has been a real privilege.”
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