Viola players perform for isolating retirement village residents in Warwick

After the 20-minute performances, audience members were invited to come off mute and talk to the performers and ask questions

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 12:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 12:40 pm

Residents at a retirement village in Warwick that were isolating were recently treated to a performance by professional viola players.

The Austin Heath residents had a viola performance via Zoom by Caroline Harrison and Carolyn Scott who usually play with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Caroline and Carolyn haven’t been able to perform since government lockdown restrictions were imposed before Christmas, so instead they have been giving recitals to residents living in retirement communities, by playing from their homes over Zoom.

The Austin Heath residents had aviola performance via Zoom byCaroline Harrison and Carolyn Scott who usually play with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Photos supplied

Their audience, who have been tuning in on their iPads and laptops, have been enjoying a varied repertoire of classical, folk and even Ragtime music including pieces by Bach, Schubert, Elgar and Scott Joplin.

“There is nothing like sharing live music,” said Caroline who is co-principal viola of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. “Both Carolyn and I have missed performing with our fellow musicians but it has been lovely giving private recitals to people who cannot get out.”

The two musicians were introduced to Inspired Villages by Jane Slade, founder of the property website Retiremove and keen amateur viola player.

“The concerts have brought isolating folk together from all over the country for half an hour each Tuesday and Friday for the past few weeks which is really fantastic,” she said.

The Austin Heath residents had aviola performance via Zoom byCaroline Harrison and Carolyn Scott who usually play with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Photo supplied

“We so enjoy playing for everyone,” added Caroline, who with Carolyn has been performing on a voluntary basis to Inspired Villages’ homeowners.

“Because there is two of us it means we can share the sessions,” Caroline added.

“We even hope that when rehearsals and performances with the orchestra return we will still be able to continue bringing live music into the homes of older people.”

After the 20-minute performances, audience members were invited to come off mute and talk to the performers and ask questions.

Some are retired musicians and singers themselves and have engaged the women in fascinating conversation.

Austin Heath resident, Pauline Tunney, said: “The concert was very enjoyable and I found it quite relaxing. It made a pleasant afternoon break.”

Alison Harrison, Village Manager at Austin Heath, said: “Music is a wonderful way to bring people together and we have many keen musicians here at Austin Heath.

"After months of lockdown it was such a treat to hear live music (even if it was virtually!) and the feedback from residents was incredibly positive.

"Throughout the pandemic we have been doing our doing our utmost to ensure residents feel supported, as well as put on fun social events like this for residents to enjoy.”