Causes Week - ANGELS IN HOMES AND HOSPITALS

Causes Week 2018: Band strikes a chord with nursing home folk

Mr Jeremy Sun (standing, fifth from left) with the Play For Good band at a recent performance in a nursing home. The band started playing at homes in 2015.
Mr Jeremy Sun (standing, fifth from left) with the Play For Good band at a recent performance in a nursing home. The band started playing at homes in 2015.PHOTO: COURTESY OF JEREMY SUN

Hairstylists give free haircuts to elderly patients in a hospital, a band plays for residents of nursing homes, while needy seniors will get new pillows from a social service organisation.

Upon hearing the tunes that the Play For Good band had struck up, an elderly nursing home resident stood up, handed his walking cane to a nurse, and started dancing.

"It was most impressive, he looked about 80 years old," recalled design director Jeremy Sun, 53, the band's founder.

The band has come across many similar heartwarming moments during their free concerts in nursing homes, said Mr Sun.

The seven core amateur musicians have been playing at various homes since 2015.

While doing research on elderly people for a work project in 2014, and after spending six months interacting with them, Mr Sun realised that many people were lonely and neglected by society.

It struck him that music was a great way to connect with senior citizens. "Music is emotionally engaging, its very therapeutic," said Mr Sun, who used to play music for his two sons when they were younger. They are now 18 and 21.

After floating the idea to a colleague, word spread and, within a month, they had found enough musicians and singers to form a band.

 

They then approached nursing homes to offer their services.

The band plays songs of yesteryear in Mandarin, Malay and Hokkien, to which the old folk can relate, said Econ Healthcare Service's assistant director of nursing home services Liu Jian Ping.

"They bring back memories for our residents, who would be singing along to melodies they enjoy," she added.

The band plays about once a month, and sometimes gets calls from nursing homes which have heard about them.

It is a win-win situation, as the musicians - working professionals in their 20s to 50s - get the chance to play their instruments, said Mr Sun, who also enjoys playing the piano in his spare time.

Fellow band member Felicia Lin, 30, an architectural designer, said: "It's a very simple form of entertainment. It is just a small little step to help out."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 23, 2018, with the headline 'Band strikes a chord with nursing home folk'. Print Edition | Subscribe