Amelia from the LS Strings Ensemble shares their experience performing for the elderly at the St. Mary’s elderly home:
“On November 15, the LS Strings Ensemble lugged our instruments down the hill Of Nam Long Shan Road meet a room full of elderly people at St Mary’s Home For The Aged. At first we were nervous and apprehensive. We thought it seemed large and the chairs were actually a great deal fancier and impressed us. It was very quiet, as the residents didn’t seem to talk very loudly.
Our group set up and began tuning, curious as the residents of St. Mary’s Home For The Aged filed in. They looked excited and cheerful, like they were ready for our performance. A few were being wheeled in with a domestic helper or nurse, and a few others were using walkers to stroll in. Most were quiet, but a few were more lively. Some were chattering and observing us with interested expressions.
We played a selection of pieces including ‘O Canada’, ‘Gargoyles’, ‘American Fiddle Medley’, ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’, three solos, and ended with a piece called ‘Guest Soloist’. In this piece, the elderly volunteers shook tambourines on time of the beat, which was fun to both watch and participate in. One of our members, Darren Y. is fluent in Cantonese, and hosted our concert along with Ms Benusa, our strings teacher who conducted.
Following the concert, members of the ensemble distributed 80 goodie bags which we had prepared, filled with soap, crackers, toilet paper, and tissues among everyone. Every time we distributed a bag, we would thank them for letting us perform for them. They looked thankful and cheerful, and those who could speak English held a little small talk thanking us. On the outside was a handwritten note in traditional Chinese with an illustration.
The purpose of this trip was really to bring something both to calm and comfort these people who had maybe not as much company. I think we would definitely go again, because we learned there that even without spending so much money, we can give a present to those who need it. Even the younger students in our group didn’t find it boring, they still thought it was interesting and liked the visit.
All of the residents seemed very happy and excited, and we really hope that we helped them enjoy their time and brought a little bit of slight into their lives.”