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Sound of music hits right note in our local hospitals

June 26th, 2020 5:50 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Tess Leak and Camilla Griehsel giving a performace at Dunmanway Community Hospital recently as part of the Arts for Health programme. (Photo: Richie Tyndall)

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INSPIRED by al fresco arias on Italian balconies, West Cork artistes are bringing the sound of music to local hospitals.

Baltimore’s Tess Leak, who is a trained visual artist, a poet and a cellist, joined forces with Schull singer, Camilla Griehsel, to give the first of five live performances in the grounds of Schull Community Hospital.

Their performance last week, was enthusiastically received by the hospital residents and staff, and a repeat performance was given at Dunmanway Community Hospital.

They are also performing for the residents and staff at Bantry General Hospital, and a fourth concert is scheduled for Skibbereen Hospital Campus this week.

The fifth and final concert – which, like all the others, will feature specially chosen arias by Camilla, as well as songs gathered by Tess as part of the Museum of Song Project – will take place at Castletownbere Community Hospital at a date that has yet to be confirmed.

Justine Foster, who is the programme manager with Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, told The Southern Star: ‘This is an “Arts for Health” initiative that involves the arts centre, the Cork Education and Training Board, Cork County Council and the HSE’s Cork Kerry Community Health Care.’

In mid-March, the Italian opera singer Maurizio Marchini nearly ‘broke’ the internet with his performance of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma from his apartment balcony.

Both Tess and Camilla said they were inspired by this and similar events. Swedish-born, Camilla is no stranger to the residents and staff of Schull Community Hospital.

She has performed there many times as part of the Arts for Health programme with musician Maurice Seezer.

Schull’s director of nursing, Roisin Walsh, described the session as ‘beautiful.’

She said: ‘The residents were thrilled with the occasion. They emerged into the sunlight uncertain and so very quiet that you could hear a pin drop.

‘When music started and Camilla sang that first beautiful song I looked at their faces and they were so focused on her there was a sense of a new beginning almost.

‘When she sang Wild Mountain Thyme all the voices began to join in and so it went on – they didn’t want the afternoon to end.’

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