Gerald Peregrine is a musician who got in touch with our national programme, Creative Ireland, about his great idea.

When live music came to stand still earlier this year, Gerald put on a solo recital on a sunny day in his garden and the idea of playing to nursing home residents outside their premises came to him.

Creative Ireland put funding towards his idea of COVID Care Concerts and it grew from there to almost 200 concerts taking place right up until Christmas, creating work for 24 musicians.

Gerald and his fellow musicians (some of the very best in Ireland who perform at the highest level including opera singers and violinists) ensure that they are dressed up for these performances as if they’re playing on the National Concert Hall stage. They play everything from Bach to Beethoven to The Beatles and Abba, as well as traditional Irish music, usually finishing with We’ll Meet Again by Vera Lynn.

The musical performances have had a huge impact on the mental health of the nursing home residents. The testimonials that Gerald has received reflects this including mention of people with Dementia who haven’t spoken in years singing along to all of the words of the songs.

I’m delighted to see these concerts will now continue into 2021 under the Government’s Keep Well campaign in partnership with Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and supported by Age Friendly Ireland.

Given my own background, I’m particularly proud of these COVID Care concerts. The series is a hugely positive thing to come out of 2020 and as Gerald notes, the residents of these nursing homes have paid taxes all their lives and they deserve high quality experiences. Long may it continue.

Thank you Gerald Peregrine and Creative Ireland for making this possible.

Watch Creative Ireland’s video on COVID care concerts