Edinburgh support worker and musician organises online Christmas ‘concert’ for care homes and hospital wards

Posted by Dick Playfair on Dec 22, 2020

She didn’t want her gran to miss out on Christmas music this year.

Alex Stewart, an Edinburgh-based support worker and musician (Red Hot Rhythm Makers, Cat Named Jack etc), decided when it looked inevitable there would be no live carol singing visits to care homes this Christmas (2020), including the home where her gran Marion Stewart is a resident, St Olaf’s Nursing Home in Nairn, that she needed to do something about it.

Last month Alex put out an appeal to her musician friends and band mates to send in clips of them performing carols and Christmas songs which, as a Christmas concert, could be made available to care homes the length and breadth of the country to play on their TVs, on computers and in their lounges.

Alex on brass section duty with Cat Named Jack

The result (from the Edinburgh Christmas Collective) in time for Christmas 2020, is a one-hour long concert in three bite-sized ‘sets’, available on Youtube featuring well known and lesser known songs and carols, with performing choirs, vocal groups, soloists, and musicians in an extravaganza of festive music.

Alex would really like her Christmas concert to be seen across the care home network and in hospital wards, in fact anywhere where there might customarily have been a visit by carol singers, a choir or a band, but because of Covid-19 restrictions such visits are sadly impossible this year.

Alex says:

“All musicians have been through the mill with Covid, in many cases being denied a living, and frustrated by not being able to do what we love. And my gran brought it home to me that for so many people, particularly those in residential care or in hospital, they would not be allowed that annual visit to bring Christmas cheer into their lives.

“So, I hope that the fun that I’ve had, and that of my fellow musicians, in putting this concert together can help to spread a little happiness this Christmas.”

See my review of the Red Hot Rhythm Makers (Alex on trombone) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019.