By Elizabeth Lee
RESIDENTS in nursing homes across Co Carlow are in for a treat when a series of concerts takes place, courtesy of cellist Gerald Peregrine.
Last year, in response to the terrible social and familial deprivations that older people living in nursing homes had to endure during the various lockdowns, Gerald set up the mobile music machine (MMM).
As a response to the pandemic, MMM organised visits to hospitals, where the musicians performed (at an appropriately social distance from each other) in the garden. Since then, MMM has delivered approximately 160 concert performances, not only in residential care home settings but also in the grounds of psychiatric units and general hospitals, including Co Carlow.
“We are delighted now to provide another series of concerts across the county to residents again. This time, we are fortunate enough that families of those residents will also be able to watch safely the performances,” said Sinead Dowling, Carlow Co Council arts officer. “Along with the mobile music machine musicians, Carlow musicians have been selected to also perform at the nursing homes.
‘‘We know from their previous visit to Carlow that the impact music had on residents that day was truly uplifting and we asked that they return to Carlow. We look forward to the great reaction live music can bring, both for the musicians performing and for all the families and residents that will have this special encounter.”
The nursing homes in Ireland have borne the brunt of the impact of covid-19. Along with the devastating loss of life, there has been a huge toll on the emotional and psychological wellbeing of both staff and residents.
The project is also designed to offer work to world-class Irish musicians, many of whom are facing long-term unemployment and high levels of psychological stress due to the pandemic.
In November, the Taoiseach officially announced that the covid care concerts will be a vital part of its Keep Well campaign for 2021. The HSE and Age Friendly Ireland is funding the project. Alongside philanthropic donations and Creative Ireland funding, this will enable MMM to deliver 400 concerts in eight counties, employing over 50 of the finest professional musicians in Ireland.