Margaret Knight, harpist, has been sharing her music in hospitals for the last twenty five years for the benefit of patients, their families and hospital staff. We managed to book her for a lunchtime concert in the Eye Hospital during one of her bi-annual tours of the North of England for Music in Hospitals. In addition to her orchestral harp, she is always accompanied by her little harp that people are invited to ‘have a go on.’ She brought a gentle but uplifting atmosphere to the atrium and had virtually the whole room listening to her – people put down their phones and newspapers and seemed almost hypnotised.
The Monday performance featured The Robin Sunflower Duo and they certainly brought sunshine to the atrium, with their bluesy, jazzy vibes. A gentleman being treated for leukaemia was waiting for his prescription with his wife: “The music is a good idea. I come in to the hospital twice a week and am really enjoying it (the music). It breaks up the day. Better than sitting, brooding on your problems. We always sit here and have our butties whilst we’re waiting. This is good!”
A woman waiting in clinic with a young child: “It makes you feel like you’re not in a hospital!”
Cupid’s Bow Cello Duo were the guest performers on Wednesday. It was quite a busy day, with much to-ing and fro-ing in the atrium. A gentleman sitting very close to the music was smiling broadly throughout the performance. “This is the first time I’ve seen a cello played live. It’s absolutely brilliant! Red hot!” I noticed a gentleman who was standing listening with a young child in his arms. He was waiting for his wife to finish her appointment. “The music is a really, really good idea. Rather than having a boring wait or just music in the background, this is fantastic having it live – the interaction is great. My daughter – I couldn’t keep her happy with the long wait. As soon as the music started, I couldn’t keep her away. She’s entranced.”
A woman was passing with two young children. The children stopped, started smiling and sat down next to the duo to listen. When their mum called them away, the girl whispered a shy “Thank you” as she left.
Stringboxes, a kora and double bass twosome, have been the perfect finale to the week. Their African/Jazz/Gypsy fusion always goes down well in the atrium and they are becoming firm favourites. We are noticing that people are coming back specifically for the concerts – and today was no exception. There was clapping, dancing and much jollity to be had! Stringboxes will be back in two weeks time to share more of their unique musical blend.