Socially-distanced small group by Sheffield Harmony for honorary member hits high note at nursing home

by | 22 Oct 2020 | Chorus Life | 0 comments

When Sheffield Harmony heard that one of their own was celebrating her 97th birthday in lockdown recuperating from illness in a nursing home they decided to create a special and memorable celebration.

A small group from the chorus staged a socially-distanced mini birthday concert for Win Topham outside the window of a room in Northfield Nursing Home on Roebuck Road, Sheffield. Win, who is a longstanding and honorary member of Sheffield Harmony, also received flowers and a huge chocolate cake from the singers.

She said: “I enjoyed it very much and would like to send love and thanks to everybody in Sheffield Harmony.”

Six members of Sheffield Harmony were given permission to sing at the nursing home, which is part of the Palmsrow Health Care group, hit hard by the Covid crisis at the beginning of the outbreak. Under guidelines in place this June the home was closed to visitors but operated “window visits” to enable residents to remain in touch with relatives.

The cheery sing-song went down a storm not only with the birthday girl but also with grateful nursing home staff.

Nicola Richards, Chair of Sheffield Care Association and owner of the Palms Row Health Care group said: “We can’t thank Sheffield Harmony enough for what they did. It was brilliant at a time like this and really special.“ She added: “We have had a tough time but we have had amazing support from the community and things like this are really touching. When you are in the midst of this pandemic, you can imagine what care homes have gone through but there have been some special moments and this was one of them. It really lifted spirits.”

Sheffield Harmony small group at a nursing home

The six singers, representing the 40-strong chorus, included President Carole Hall, Assistant Musical Director Danuta Clarkson, Treasurer Cheryl McCormack, lead singer Marie Hessell, baritone Janice Jardine and former chorus bass Sue Hutchinson.

They sang a four-part harmony version of Happy Birthday, the upbeat sixties hit One Fine Day, Can You Feel the Love Tonight from the musical Lion King and Beatles hit Can’t Buy Me Love and they wore the turquoise scarves that Win had bought as a gift for the entire chorus about five years ago.

Lead singer, Win, has been a member of Sheffield Harmony for about 30 years. During that time, she has served on the management board; as president, events co-ordinator and also as a member of the dress committee.

In 2016, she was honoured with a Women of Note award, by the Quartet of Nations Region 31 of Sweet Adelines International.

Sheffield Harmony president Carole Hall said: “With lockdown relaxing slightly it was perfect timing for six of us from Sheffield Harmony to be able to sing for Win on her 97th birthday – while socially distancing of course! Win has been a huge part of our chorus for many years and it is only relatively recently that her mobility stopped her coming to rehearsals. We were unable to visit her when she went into hospital so we were really excited when her care home gave us permission to sing and took the trouble to bring her to a window where she could hear us. As well as singing Happy Birthday, it was lovely to sing a few of our favourite four-part harmony songs that Win knows and loves. This was doubly enjoyable as it was the first time a group of us have been able to sing together properly since mid-March. Our weekly virtual rehearsals have been great but being able to sing together in person and to see Win smiling at the window is something I will never forget.”

STOP PRESS! We are pleased to report that Win has now recovered well enough to return to her own home.