Opera singer entertains care home residents thanks to South Yorkshire music charity
The touring season may have been halted by the COVID-19 pandemic but the music carries on for opera singer Nicola Mills.
Nicola is one of the team of professional musicians working with Lost Chord, the South Yorkshire charity that provides vital interactive musical sessions for people living with dementia in care homes and day centres across the region and nationally.
As the pandemic tightened its grip, the charity was forced to put its busy weekly schedule of concerts on hold indefinitely.
But the singing and playing has continued to reach out via free YouTube, Twitter and Facebook sessions.
And Nicola has also been performing a series of outdoor events, singing outside homes, at a safe social distance from residents and staff.
It’s nothing new to the operatic soprano who actually prefers the outdoors to the many opera house stages where she has performed during her career.
She has sung on the streets of London and many other European cities as well as enjoying a regular outdoor spot in New York’s Central Park with her own singing project, Opera for the People.
“I’ve worked with really posh people in really posh places with great orchestra and I have loved it,” Nicola says.
“But I also know how to connect with people just like me, people who live in terraced houses and watch Coronation Street!”
Lost Chord chief executive Helena Muller said Nicola was a ‘shining example’ of the spirit that is keeping the charity’s programme going through extremely difficult times.
“More than 20 years experience has told Lost Chord that music is one of the few things that can actually reach out to people when all other forms of communication have been lost,” she said.
“We look forward to being able to return with our musicians to our homes later this year but in the meantime we really do believe that outdoor sessions can provide a very good alternative.
“Our musicians can play in the garden or under the cover of a gazebo and residents can enjoy the full Lost Chord experience from the comfort of their own rooms.”
To find out more about Lost Chord, its work, how to become involved or to book a session with the Lost Chord musicians visit www.lost-chord.org.uk or call 01709 811160.