“Life is for living and music makes you feel alive”

“Life is for living and music makes you feel alive”

A renowned composer has helped residents at a leading Hull and East Riding housing association rediscover their love for music by forming a band.

More than 15 people aged between 60 and 92 years old from Pickering and Ferens Homes are now part of The Big Elastic Band, pulled together by much-loved musician, composer and songwriter Brian Irvine.

The band, made up of singers, guitar, keyboard and symbol players to name but a few, have been working with Mr Irvine to compose four to five pieces of music that will be showcased at a major festival in the city in 2017 as part of the City of Culture programme of events.

The project will help to demonstrate that music is for everyone, no matter what age, ability or nationality you are.

Singer Harry Tuthill, 83, of Westgarth, said: “Life is for living and music makes you feel alive.

“The worst part about being a widow after 61 years of marriage is the loneliness, especially at night.

“Music brings people together and the best part of this project so far has been the people I’ve met and knowing that we’ve made it together is a great feeling.

“You’re only as old as you feel and this certainly helps me to feel young again.”

The finished piece will be performed as part of The PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial, a festival which will welcome top music talent including classical composers Errollyn Wallen and Brian Irvine, beatbox artist Jason Singh, traditional musician Sam Lee and, the unofficial Queen of folk, Eliza Carthy to Hull in the months ahead to work with other local groups and communities.

Claire Champlin, health and wellbeing manager of Pickering and Ferens Homes, said: “When Brian first approached me about getting involved in a musical project, it was not very clear what it was we were trying to achieve other than finding out who loved music.

“We decided to call the project The Big Elastic band because helping people to rediscover their forgotten talents through music proves that no matter what age you can always bounce back to what you once knew.”

“We couldn’t have asked for a better response from residents and it’s fantastic to see them all getting into the swing of it and working together to create the music.”