"Music binds us in a way that language rarely does". It was Sunday, 1 May when - full of anticipation - we arrived at Atwood House. The occasion was our musical extravaganza evening for retirement home residents during their routine evening get-together. After setting up our musical instruments other karaoke equipment and necessary sound checks, we were all ready to go. Ved was going to play the piano and trumpet. This was my first formal solo performance (outside of school) to a group larger than my parents and brother, so I was all charged-up and ready to put up a great show. Neil, on the other hand was the more seasoned performer, having had reasonable experience in his music career thus far. From National Theatre connections and a Fable workshop production to performing on the high street for Radio Jackie - Neil had seen it more, so was cool, calm, and collected, ready to give yet another great performance with his voice.
Music has always been a great passion of ours, and when our parents challenged us with the idea of presenting before an elderly audience at my aunt's retirement home, we took this as an opportunity to showcase our talents and skills and spread our love for music with others, true to the school motto of Non Sibi Sed Omnibus. In fact, studies prove that older adults benefit from music as it improves their mood, brings back happy memories, encourages socialisation, sharpens memory, and promotes overall mental and physical health. Similarly in youths, music helps young minds to think creatively, work collaboratively, become disciplined, critical thinkers and problem solvers - all of which helps in better performance at school (most of the time!), aids in social development and success in society; so, we knew this could be an experience that would not only make the residents happy, but also benefit us as good human beings. This thought motivated us to strive under the tight timeline pressure, and alongside other after-school clubs and activities, to put on a decent show. We also cheekily came up with a last-minute idea of using this event as a fund raiser for our school's new music centre. We created posters to advertise the event at different locations of the retirement home.
Our musical extravaganza consisted of a variety of pieces like 'Opening Night Jazz' by Martha Mier, 'Holiday in Paris' by William Gillock and 'Douce Reverie' by P.I. Tchaikovsky on the piano, and 'The Bare Necessities' and 'Men of Harlech' on the trumpet, to name a few. Neil mesmerised the audience with his melodious voice, singing 'Don't Stop Believing' by Journey, 'This Is Me' from The Greatest Showman and 'If only you would listen" from The School of Rock. A surprise performance by my little brother (Vira, 6) and a duet by Neil and his brother (Avi, 7), also touched hearts and added to the joyful spirit of the evening. The audience was spellbound by not only our musical talent and stage confidence, but also because they could see a reflection of their own children and grandchildren in us. At the end of 45 minutes of euphonious music, we were flooded with appreciation, praise, and positive comments. The show was a grand success and the residents felt very loved. Some residents even felt a bit nostalgic as their own siblings had been Old Wilsonians seventy years before. We felt most encouraged when someone commented, "You were better than Britain's Got Talent show last night"! The event raised a decent £201.50 pounds, which was very kindly matched by both Neil's and my parents, taking the total to £403. We were brimming with joy and our parents with pride, seeing the generosity, encouragement, and appreciation we received that evening. We are very thankful to the social committee of Atwood House (Julia, Jill, Usha et al.) for providing us this opportunity. The joy and satisfaction of touching so many hearts with our music and playing a part, albeit small, in the school's fundraising drive for the music centre, shall stay with us for a rather long time to come.
Article by Ved (8H) and Neil (8S)
Pictured above: Mr Cole with Ved and Neil’s parents after receiving their generous donation.