As Mandy Rushton and Dane Warren sang “All of me,” it was clear most of their audience was familiar with the lyrics to the song, a jazz standard first published in 1931. and popularized by Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.
Mad Jazz, as the trio of Rushton, Warren and keyboardist “Jazz Cat” Aaron Pang are known, performed for more than 30 residents of the Langley Lodge seniors residence on Monday, Aug. 9 in the outdoor courtyard garden area of the building, with most audience members staying in the shade beneath a large fabric awning.
Their concert was originally planned for June 28, but had to be postponed because of the heat wave.
Natasha Mihell, program planner with Heart for Music B.C., organizer of the concert, explained “this is an event mainly to bring smiles and joy to these seniors and hard-working care home staff.”
Heart For Music BC program was created to provides free, live, outdoor, 45-minute music events to care homes in BC. with local musicians playing upbeat oldies for staff and residents.
“This is for love, happiness and spreading joy,” Mihell enthused.
Rick’s Heart Foundation founder Rick Diamond, owner of Surrey-based Diamond Delivery, launched the program to bring live entertainers to senior residences after seeing the beneficial impact of music on his late father, who had dementia.
“It brought the life back into his eyes,” Diamond recounted in an online message explaining how the idea started.
“He became alert to his surroundings and the spark in him returned. Seeing as music evokes emotions that bring back memories, I have made it my personal endeavor to have music in as many seniors’ homes as possible”
Diamond commented that when the pandemic hit, “seniors felt abandoned”
“We weren’t allowed in the homes and the seniors were locked down inside. So, we brought music to them.”