Musical Memories Phase 3 was launched recently at Laois Music Centre, Portlaoise – an intergenerational music project supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme Creativity in Older Age fund, in partnership with Laois County Council.
At the launch event, project lead and musician Nuala Kelly said:
“Phase 3 of Musical Memories offers more opportunities for intergenerational music activities with participation from Mountmellick Men’s Shed; Portlaoise Men’s Shed; Paddock NS; Rath NS; and active retirement groups.
“We are delighted that the Creative Ireland Programme has again supported Musical Memories in 2021.
“We are very excited that as part of a regional development, Musical Memories has expanded into Offaly and Westmeath and is facilitated by musicians from Music Generation Offaly Westmeath working with intergenerational ukulele and singing groups.”
Musical Memories is a Song-Singing project that commenced in June 2020 in response to the social isolation experienced by residents of care settings in Laois – Abbeyleix Hospital, St. Brigid’s Hospital, Shaen and St. Vincent’s Mountmellick Community Nursing Unit.
The pilot phase was delivered entirely online by lead musician Nuala Kelly, who works with the Music Generation Laois Primary Schools Programme.
The project engaged with children and staff of Paddock NS where new songs were learned and online singing from the classroom was streamed to residents at the care, culminating in a festive singing event for Christmas 2020.
Despite restrictions across the whole country in January 2021, Phase 2 of Musical Memories was initiated and expanded to include Mountmellick Men’s Shed; Rath NS and Errill NS.
The project remained online and culminated in an interactive song-singing session with all participants in March 2021, with special guest and Laois native, Trudi Lalor.
With restrictions easing somewhat post-Easter, members of Mountmellick Men’s Shed organised an outdoor visit to St. Vincent’s Community Nursing Unit, bringing much joy to the residents by meeting and singing in-person.
Outdoor visits to the care settings by Music Generation Laois musicians Nuala Kelly and James O’Connor continued throughout the summer.
Phase 3 of Musical Memories has extended further with members of Portlaoise Men’s Shed and their grandchildren as well as grandparents of children in Paddock NS and Rath NS taking part.
The culmination of Phase 3 aims to have all participants come together for a seasonal song-singing session in December.