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Aaaaaaaaaggghh - The Scream Thread!


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#17191 Splog

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 14:31

Aquarelle, I have performed in care homes a couple of times, and I agree it can be very sad. The first time was a Christmas party, and I was getting virtually no reaction from the audience, but I knew that some of them were singing along inside their heads. The second time was a Burns' day event at a dementia care home, and many of the residents were very unresponsive, but I soldiered on. The staff assured me that even if I didn't get any reaction they would still know that the residents were enjoying it. As it turned out one lady who hadn't spoken for a long time started moving in time to the music and singing along - just grunts really but she was there. Another man sat quietly next to his wife, and didn't move or speak at all, in fact didn't even seem to know what day it was. I sang the Ewan McColl song "The first time ever I saw your face" and when I got to the third verse, which starts 'The first time ever I lay with you' he perked up, turned to his wife and said something extremely naughty. I was about to turn to them and smile but I saw that she had turned bright pink so I pretended I hadn't heard and carried on singing. Every time I sing that song I am reminded of this man and his virile youth.

 

You will touch these people with your performance without realising it. They will love the children, and will appreciate the fact that you have made so much effort to be there. Unfortunately  you have been messed around with all this, and your home situation isn't ideal, but you know that you will be giving something very special, so best of luck with it. And hopefully you will get a good reaction from someone which will lift your spirits.


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#17192 Misterioso

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 16:07

:thereThere: Aquarelle.

 

You've had so much to cope with for far too long. Remember to be kind to yourself. 


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#17193 Louise H

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 19:16

Aquarelle, I hope tomorrow goes as well as it can for you and trust the children will be able to perform as well as they can. I hope that you can give yourself some down time afterwards - you need rest between all the teaching and looking after your partner.


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#17194 Aquarelle

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 21:40

I am deeply appreciative to you all for your kind words and encouragement. You have in fact lifted the depression a bit and encouraged me for tomorrow.  I'll let you know how we manage;


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#17195 Cyrilla

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 00:22

A very big 'hear, hear' to all the words above.

 

Good luck with it tomorrow, Aquarelle - when we're already low because of personal stuff, it is SO difficult to lift oneself to do hard work stuff that normally we'd cope with.

 

And - as you say, it will be OVER this time tomorrow!!!

 

:thereThere:


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#17196 Clarinetta

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 20:36

This morning I was helping my husband move something awkward and twisted round incautiously, thereby ricking my dodgy knee AGAIN! Now trying to both rest and gently exercise some very tender ligaments. Sigh...  :(


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#17197 Aquarelle

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 22:50

Well, we did it. We bussed 2 coachloads of over excited children up to the retirement home and got them up the stairs to the first floor with the remaining stage accessories -  and fortunately without any accidents despite the pushing and shoving. I was somewhere around the middle of the queue with a helpful little boy giving me a hand with a heavy bag. By the time I got into the communal room there was absolute chaos. Children were taking off their outdoor gear and leaving coats and jackets all over the floor and one of my colleagues and a mother who had come to help were putting  out the stools for the choir and the children were all trying to grab a seat. What everyone had forgotten was that I have had the choir seated in five lines, with everyone knowing exactly their place – so that those involved in the mime could exit and enter the choir without pushing and that the readers would know exactly where the next person to need the microphone would be. When we did it at school I had them lined up in an adjacent classroom and when  everything was in place they filed in in an orderly fashion. The head teacher got panicky and said it didn’t matter how they sat and I said it did and I also needed to be able to get to and from my music stand and  the two  CD players without walking over Mary and Joseph!  It was difficult for me to do my bossy boots Aquarelle act with other teachers making such a mess of the preparations but in the end that was what I resorted to and I finally got some sort of order and calm. Then I sorted my own music, flute and access to everything.

 

Our audience was about 60 strong. Some of them sat in armchairs but very many were in wheelchairs. I should say at this point how grateful I am to Splog and Hedgehog who had warned me that we might not get much overt response. I knew what not to expect and that I must remember that lack of response doesn’t  mean lack of appreciation with this kind of audience. I was glad to be forewarned. Most of the residents didn’t seem very responsive but there were some smiles and that made it worth it.

 

Once the muddle was over we got started and somehow I suddenly found a great surge of energy. I’ve no idea where it came from – maybe children are the best  anti-depressants- but the whole thing just came to life. It went well, no hitches and most the choir watched me most of the time. We had a short prayer session led by the parish priest and he suggested that the audience should applaud  the children which they did. The clearing up was slightly less chaotic than the setting up and as far as I can tell we managed not to forget anything. The staff of the home gave the children a slice of cake and a glass of orange juice and when we left there was a lot of waving from the children and the residents.

 

Then of course, the bombshell I thought might fall  -  did. “You will come back next Christmas, won’t you?” Well I have now seen what kind of audience we have, what space we have. And incidentally  I found that if only they had shown me, there is a wide corridor leading to the canteen where we could have parked the children and their outdoor gear in an orderly fashion while setting up the scene. I also know that if we have to  do the Celebration for two very different audiences next year I am going to have to make some adjustments to the kind of script I write and the way I present the work to the audience. It was the head teacher who presented it this time and I think I have learnt what not to do! Actually I have, in the end, learnt quite a lot from this experience; I am no longer depressed but I am knackered and am now going to bed! ‘Night everyone and thanks again for all the support - those vibes were a great help!


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#17198 Cyrilla

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 23:51

Aww, am SO delighted that it went so well, despite the hitches - I was thinking of you today.

 

You deserve many pats on the back and I hope you've treated yourself to Something Nice on your way to a well-deserved bed!

 

:clap: :clap: :clap:


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#17199 hummingbird

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 00:53

:clap: I'm so glad it went well and it sounds as if you've gone to bed tired but uplifted :)

I must remember that lack of response doesn’t  mean lack of appreciation with this kind of audience. I was glad to be forewarned. Most of the residents didn’t seem very responsive but there were some smiles and that made it worth it.


I've played clarinet several times at a residential home where a relative lived. I know that some of the residents couldn't smile because they'd lost the use of their facial muscles.  Parkinson's Disease, for instance, often makes sufferers have a deadpan expression.  Sometimes it's difficult or painful for someone to raise their head because their neck is either stiff or weak, and that makes it look as if they're not interested - but their hearing is fine, it's just their limbs or muscles that they have difficulty with.  Or they might be slumped in the chair with their eyes closed and it looks as if they're asleep, but then you notice some movement in their index finger and you realise that they're faintly tapping the beat.  I once went to a resident's room (not a relative) to play something because she couldn't make it to the communal room, and she was still talking about it to her relatives two weeks later.  I always try to think of how these people must have been before they were stricken by the ravages of old age, when they had a rich, fulfulling life, and how listening to music is possibly one of the few pleasures now left to them, even if they can't show that they appreciate it (although granted some may not appreciate anyway!)  I've thought for a while now that I would like to get back into playing at residential homes so perhaps your posts will give me the spur I need, Aquarelle.  I hope you get a good night's sleep and can face the day with a lighter heart tomorrow :)


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#17200 HelenVJ

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 09:45

That's wonderful, Aquarelle - congratulations for getting through it with something like aplomb :). And how wonderful that instead of thinking 'Never again!' you are already working out how you can learn from the experience for next year's New Improved Version. I am genuinely full of admiration, as I think I may well have been tempted to call in sick had it been me!

 

Onward and upward, and hope 2016 continues to improve for you and your partner.


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#17201 Louise H

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 12:22

Aquarelle, I'm so pleased it worked out well in the end, despite the chaos at the beginning and it's good that you can see how it might work for next year and how you might be able to plan for it. Organising two coach loads of children is no mean feat either. I liked the picture of you "getting your bossy boots out" to make sure you could line up the children in the right rows and sort your own things out!

 

I think you should now have a very restful weekend doing the least amount of jobs/chores possible! :)


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#17202 Aquarelle

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 14:06

Thank you again everyone - you forumites  have been marvellous in your support and I don't think I could have gor through it without your good wishes. My teaching week finished at lunchtime today and I am now off to do the week's shopping - and I am going to take the advice - buy myself something that I certainly shouldn't eat but am going to - probably chocolate.

 

 

Polkadot I would just like to thank you for your explanations of some of  the physical reasons for the lack of shown response. I think that might be useful if any of the top juniors need to comment on their experience. It is quite likely that next time I see them they will talk about it and I will be able now to give them a (gentle) explanation of the reasons why elderly people can't always show the enjoyment they feel.  It will reassure them that their efforts were appreciated and give them something to think about. in terms of kindness to the elderly and handicapped.. 


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#17203 Hedgehog

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 20:27

I've come rather late to this (been struggling with my tax return stuff - a personal aarrgh!), but I'm glad to see Aquarelle made it through to the end rather successfully, and I am also impressed with her forward planning for next year!!  I think any chocolate you buy and eat is richly deserved Aquarelle! :D


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#17204 Lemontree

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 21:19

I only look in here when I have something myself on my mind, and I saw your post at the top of this site, Aquarelle. I am glad it worked out well for you with the kids choir. I wish you good luck. That must be a bit of a nagging situation, and I feel for you, especially since I have been there myself. Best thing really is to do step by step by step and see to it that each of them is done with love and care for ONEself, and others. You won't be able to function unless you take care of yourself first, whenever you have the chance. And that's sometimes a hard thing to do. 

 

My own topic probably some of you might guess already. The situation in Germany. I am launching my own business right now - aside from what I am already doing - and it is a hard thing to do when so much is going very wrong around me. Just two tram stations from where I live, they installed a migrant shelter. I work till late in the night. So now, when I am on my way home, I have either the choice to go by tram which is full with migrants or walk a street that is mainly void of any other living being aside maybe a rabbit or two (no joke!). I am thinking about getting myself a taser or a knife or whatever is within my legal rights to protect myself with to be honest. The events in Cologne have just broken the dam of women coming forward in other cities, and even countries (the latest in Salzburg) with similar stories. And it is very clear that press and politicians have been hiding and keeping stories back from the public. And our polititions are just dumb talking instead of taking valid action. It is hard in these shadows of events to be creative and to develop my product line. A fair will be in February which I need to attend to with a complete set of product in my pocket to make the remaining purchases, and I am still in the beginning of the process. And I find myself now more in front of the tv watching events than caring for my own wellbeing and my creativity. Sometimes I even wonder if the situation we have at hand might lead to a war. Things are heating up here, and in all of this I actually have finally found the one thing that might be able to provide for me without being dependent on an employer but only if the political situation stays calm and secure. I am really worried. I usually am. But I am often enough right as well far earlier than any other in my surrounding, and I fear that I am right about this one as well. I wonder where there is a country I might be willing to migrate to. Sorry. I needed to say this some place.


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#17205 mel2

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 21:33

Poor Lemontree.
I don't think it comes as any great surprise; women are left vulnerable because the authorities dare not risk being called racist.
I wouldn't carry a knife- too much of a risk that it would be taken and used on you, but a can of hair or pepper spray might make you feel safer.
Can you change your hours to start and leave early?
Good luck with your plans.
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