Derry City & Strabane - Care Home residents enjoy outdoor classical performance as part of Bealtaine Festival




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Care Home residents enjoy outdoor classical performance as part of Bealtaine Festival

24 May 2021

Residents of two rural nursing homes in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area have been treated to an outdoor classical music performance as part of the programme for the Bealtaine Festival.

To celebrate National Arts in Nursing Homes Day, classical music ensemble The Mobile Music Machine performed at Silverdale Nursing Home in Castlederg and the Longfield Care Home, Eglinton.

Although weather conditions meant residents had to enjoy the performance from indoors through open windows, they were delighted to have their first experience of live music since the pandemic began.

The performance was a first for both homes and staff and residents were delighted - indeed many sang along with the musicians.

One of the highlights showing how wonderful music is to our elder residents in care was when a lady named Nancy moved forward to the door to join the musicians as she sang along with the choral music spontaneously.

The ensemble included Anthony Kearns, an internationally renowned tenor, record producer and member of The Irish Tenors, acclaimed soprano Sandra Oman and Dublin pianist, conductor and musical director Duncan Brickended.

May 1st marked the ancient festival of Bealtaine or Beltane, the cross quarter day marking the midway point between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. 

More latterly, it has given rise to the Bealtaine Spring Festival which runs throughout Ireland to celebrate our older citizens and their participation in and engagement with the Arts.

"The Bealtaine Festival provides a month long programme of arts related activities, reaching far and wide across the counties in numerous venues," explained a spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council.

"This year Council has been invited to join in through cross border programming with Donegal which is looking at how we can work together to engage in arts and culture across the North West. 

"This included participating in National Arts in Nursing Homes Day on Friday May 21st with an outside performance by The Mobile Music Machine and two of our rural nursing homes.

"The musical ensemble is made up of some the finest classical musicians and educators' in Ireland who travel the globe performing, recording, producing and teaching music.

"They have developed in interactive session of classical music and songs to chosen care homes in the North West and performing in Co. Tyrone, Co. Derry and Co. Donegal."

Throughout the month of May the Bealtaine Festival showcased examples of community based and arts venue projects - supporting their work while demonstrating the important and valuable role retired people play within our communities.

It aims to highlight the work undertaken by older volunteers across areas such as tourism, natural and built heritage, arts and culture.

The project is funded through support by both Councils and North West Regional Development Group.

For more information on the programme e mail or visit


Residents of the Longfield Care Home with members of the Mobile Music Machine who performed for them to celebrate National Arts in Nursing Homes Day.