The Concert Party’s reputation for combining fun and engaging musical performances with warmth and an encouragement to their audiences to join in and sing along – plus a friendly chat over a cup of tea at the end – has endeared them to residents and staff alike in the care homes they visit.
They are in popular demand: as well as almost all the local care homes for the elderly, the group have taken their music to the Redwoods Medical Health Centre and into a primary school, and they have plans to visit a local school for autistic teenagers. In October they also joined forces with the School’s Global Social Leaders and Cookery groups to host an afternoon tea party in Kingsland Hall for local elderly people – a highly successful event and hugely enjoyed by guests and hosts alike.
The Concert Party was set up as a Thursday Afternoon Activity three years ago in conjunction with Creative Inspiration Shropshire and its Founding Director, Dr Jane Povey and is run by Head of Vocal Studies Kathryn Turpin. As a doctor, Jane is convinced of the positive health benefits of the arts, particularly for people with dementia, long term conditions or disabilities and mental health problems. Creative Inspiration’s mission is “to grow individual and collective wellbeing and resilience in Shropshire through creative arts”. It does so by providing creative arts programmes in care homes, hospitals, mental health services, community centres and schools – linking artists and musicians with some of the most vulnerable and isolated people in the local community.
Now that the School's partnership with Creative Inspiration Shropshire is well-established and strong links have been formed within the local community, the Concert Party is self-managing and increasing the list of residential homes they visit and the scope of their activities. The Concert Party currently has five members, who between them sing and play the piano, trumpet, harp, flute and violin, with two more members joining next term. During the first few weeks of each term, they work with Kathryn Turpin on choosing their repertoire and rehearsing – which last year also included a workshop from Live Music Now. The rest of the term is spent going out each Thursday afternoon with Ms Turpin and John Moore, Director of Music, taking their music into parts of the local community that would otherwise have little or no access to live music.