Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra live in Colten Care home garden

Music to our New Forest ears

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra performs live - in a Colten Care home garden!

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra members with Colten Care resident Brendan O’Brien

Ed Note: When orchestral players from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra turned up to perform at a Colten home, they didn’t expect the audience of residents to include a former BSO leader – so they were definitely kept on their toes! A rather lovely story in ongoing challenging times for live events, for the New Forest and everywhere!

Ex-BSO leader Brendan enjoys ‘great pleasure’ of care home concert   

It’s not every day you have the chance to see and hear professional orchestral players performing live in your own garden.

But that’s exactly what residents at Colten Care’s Outstanding-rated Canford Chase in Poole were able to do thanks to a visit by musicians from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO).

And for the performers, there was added incentive to shine as the audience of residents included Brendan O’Brien, a former BSO leader and principal violinist who spent 29 years with the orchestra until his retirement in 2011.

French horn and piano player Kevin Pritchard and violinist Jennifer Curiel delighted the spectators with a varied, one-hour set that featured pieces by Puccini, Gershwin, Scott Joplin and Debussy. 

There were tunes from musicals including Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music and even a classical take on Abba’s Thank You for the Music. 

The afternoon concert took place with performers and audience seated in separate, suitably distanced gazebos.

Team members at the Western Road home expressed thanks to neighbouring builders who downed tools for the duration to ensure there was no noise disturbance.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra performing in care home gardenIn addition, the timing was perfect as planned maintenance work inside the home meant power was briefly shut off but with residents gathered in the garden to hear the music, no-one was affected.

Leader of the BSO from 1968 remembers one of the greatest violinists of all time

Brendan, who was married to the Irish violinist Anita Dunkerley, was first appointed leader of the BSO in 1968.

He said: “When I started with them, they were celebrating their 75th year and it was a wonderful season.

“David Oistrakh, one of the greatest violinists ever, played Shostakovich’s violin concerto and Rostropovich the cellist also played. It was a huge honour for me to be celebrating that wonderful time with them.

“Now, to be here as an old man, living in this nursing home which I like very much, it was a great pleasure for me to meet some of the present-day members of the orchestra and enjoy their playing. It would be great to enjoy a repeat of the experience.”

Magicians wove a magical spell over the garden

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra French Horn playerCanford Chase Companionship Team Leader Julie Wathen said: “The musicians wove a magical spell over our garden, with 17 residents watching the performance in hushed silence, their faces a picture of peace and contentment. There was complete stillness as everyone listened in awe to the beautiful music.

“There was obvious pride in Brendan as he spoke with Jenni and Kevin afterwards and I overheard Edna, another of our residents, say to the musicians that she found the performance ‘absolutely charming’.

“With our power briefly off for maintenance work, it could have been quite chaotic for the residents, but the garden became an oasis of peace for them. Thank you BSO.”

In a note of thanks to Canford Chase afterwards, Kevin praised the ‘generosity of staff for providing lunch and refreshments and being attentive throughout’. 

Kevin and Jennifer were accompanied on their visit by organiser Ben Jennings, the BSO’s Participate Programme Manager.

The concert was part of a ‘tour’ being delivered with the generous support of Tapper Funeral Service.

Throughout the pandemic, BSO musicians have engaged with all ages through live music-making workshops and performances.

Symphonic performances by the orchestra were also livestreamed for government ministers attending the recent G7 summit in Cornwall. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra members in garden

Other Colten Care homes hosting BSO performances this summer include the Outstanding-rated dementia care home Fernhill in Longham.

Images from top:

1.Former BSO leader Brendan O’Brien, second from right, after the concert in the garden of Colten Care’s Outstanding-rated Canford Chase care home in Poole. With him are, from left: Ben Jennings, the BSO’s Participate Programme Manager; and performers Kevin Pritchard and Jennifer Curiel.

2.Performers and audience in separate gazebos 

3.BSO musician Kevin Pritchard playing the French horn during the concert 

4. BSO performers Jennifer Curiel and Kevin Pritchard are thanked for their concert by Julie Wathen, Companionship Team Leader at the Outstanding-rated Colten Care home.

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Three of Colten's New Forest homes are rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission: Linden House specialist dementia care home in Lymington, Woodpeckers residential home in Brockenhurst and Kingfishers in New Milton.

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With more than 30 years’ experience, Colten Care is an award-winning family-owned care home company. It has 21 quality care homes covering Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex and offers a range of services spanning residential, nursing and dementia care. Seven of the homes are rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission and Colten Care earns a consistently high group score, currently 9.9 out of ten, on the public review site Carehome.co.uk. Based on such third-party advocacy, Colten Care is the UK’s highest-rated care home group for its size.

All Colten Care homes are registered for nursing care

Excellent nurse led careAll homes are registered for nursing care and four are dedicated dementia care homes with Admiral Nurse support. Unlike people who receive domiciliary care in their own homes, residents in Colten Care homes have the reassurance that 24/7 nurse-led care with companionship is on hand whenever they need it. Residents live in the highest standards of accommodation, enjoying homecooked food, fresh laundry and housekeeping services, and safe, peaceful and inspiring gardens. Colten Care also supports residents to raise thousands of pounds for charities of their choice every year. Founded more than 35 years ago, Colten Care has won multiple awards for the quality of its care and remains an independent, family-owned care home provider. For more information, visit www.ColtenCare.co.uk

Three Colten Care homes in the New Forest are rated outstanding

Colten Care operates six residential nursing and care homes in the New Forest, three of which are rated Outstanding and three of which are in Lymington: Belmore Lodge, Court Lodge and dementia specialist Linden House (Outstanding). There are also homes in Brockenhurst -Woodpeckers (Outstanding), New Milton - Kingfishers (Outstanding) and Mudeford - Avon Reach. Click on the links to find out more about each home... 

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