First non-virtual performance of Royal Albert Hall Songbook since start of Covid-19 pandemic

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Julia Simkins, Compton Lodge resident

A care home in Swiss Cottage, Camden, has marked the resumption of in-person activities with a special singalong concert performed by musicians from the Royal Albert Hall.

The Hall’s in-house group Albert’s Band visited Compton Lodge on Wednesday 12 May, putting on their one-hour show “The Royal Albert Hall Songbook” for the benefit of 24 residents at the home. This is the first time the group has performed the show live to an audience since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The performance, which took place in Compton’s gardens, went ahead following the completion of the Covid vaccination programme for residents at the home. Other activities, including art therapy sessions, dance fitness classes and regular singalong events with a professional musician, have also resumed in-person at the home, which has a long-standing record of attracting residents with a background or passion for the creative arts.

Fiona Saadat, acting care director, Central and Cecil (C&C), said: “With residents receiving their second vaccination and shielding requirements ending, we have been in the fortunate position to restart activities where residents can safely come together.

“This is so important for our residents after long periods of lockdowns, which have at times restricted us to running activities only online. There’s a wealth of mental and physical benefits bringing residents back together and being able to enjoy a cultural experience with each other.”

Flo Schroeder, Senior Education and Outreach Manager at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “It gives us so much pleasure that our music can bring care residents together in this way, especially as this is the first in-person Royal Albert Hall Songbook performance since the pandemic began. We know that music is extremely powerful in improving wellbeing, and this is something that is needed now more than ever. We are extremely grateful for opportunities such as those provided by Compton Lodge and the wider C&C group to perform again.”

Albert’s Band are visiting all four care homes operated by C&C during May, remaining in the Camden area to visit Rathmore House as well as visiting Richmond borough, which houses both Cecil Court and Homemead.

Residents at Compton Lodge talked of both their enjoyment of the Royal Albert Hall concert and of the broader resumption of face to face activities at the home, particularly the ability to use the home’s dedicated arts studio.

Resident Julia Simkins, 86, said: “They played all our songs from our childhood and growing up, which was fantastic. We couldn’t have had a better day with the weather and the gardens look gorgeous. It was helpful to have the songbook as I couldn’t remember all the words to the songs!

Julia Simkins, Compton Lodge resident

“I think I’ve become more sociable here,” added Julia, who has lived at Compton Lodge since August 2020. “I’m looking forward to more external professionals coming to the home to run different classes. While I’m fairly new to painting, I like to fill my day with colours and will give anything a go!”

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Julia Simkins, Compton Lodge resident
• First non-virtual performance of Royal Albert Hall Songbook since start of Covid-19 pandemic

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