George McKenzie House, March 2019
The whole Sing Inside experience is a great encouragement and inspiration for me. And whenever I do it I get the impression it is similar for everyone involved whether volunteers, residents or staff from the institution we're visiting. Each visit is unique, yet has the consistent sense of fun, quality, encouragement and equality - people making music together and singing from the heart. The visit to George Mackenzie House (GMH) was another example of that.
We met up at Trinity College for a briefing and short practice of a song - "we" being: a recent graduate from Anglia Ruskin Uni, students from a range of courses at University of Cambridge, and a part-time piano teacher and church leader from a village near Cambridge. After the short trip to GMH we were welcomed warmly, set up in a communal area with a battered old piano as residents gradually drifted in to see what was happening. Kate led us all in some fun vocal warmups and then we started learning songs together, all linked by the theme of birds: Three Little Birds (Bob Marley); Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night (Beatles); and Bird of Paradise (Tony Bird). There were some great voices amongst the residents and volunteers, and even bigger smiles and laughter.
We finished by singing together as volunteers an arrangement of a song from the 15th century called Ah Robin - so good and different as the residents asked us to sing it again outside in the smoking / vaping area. After a heart felt thank you from one of the residents it was time to leave. The afternoon had flown by, the taxi was waiting, and we're all looking forward to the next Sing Inside experience.