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Bob and the Boys entertain elderly residents in lockdown

Eyleen Gomez

The elderly residents of Bella Vista were treated to a live performance by local band Bob and the Boys yesterday evening.

Bob Randall together with Danny Chipolina, Ernest Slade and GHA worker Kayron Pozo played a selection of hits from popular artists such as the Beatles from the car park.

Their audience are currently in their fifth week of an strictly imposed Covid-19 lockdown with many of the residents having been transferred from St Bernard’s hospital for their safety.

Rodrigo Gutierrez from the Bella Vista nursing staff said that the residents enjoyed the entertainment, which was true, with a number of their balconies waving or swaying along to the music and clapping at the end of each song.

The idea to provide entertainment to residents is the brainchild of Isobel Ellul from the GHA who contacted the Musicians Association of Gibraltar to see what could be arranged.

Local musicians did not disappoint and a number have come forward to offer their services, last week Bob and the Boys performed at Hillside and Mexican singer Karina Ortiz at Mount Alvernia.

“We were asked would we like to entertain the elderly and we obviously said yes,” said Mr Randall.

“We are playing more or less some 60s and some Spanish music that they would like, something from Albert Hammond or the Monkeys or a bit of the Beatles.”

Mr Pozo spoke about how the lockdown has been for the residents of Bella Vista.

“I can’t speak on behalf of patients specifically but it must be quite difficult in the way it has been for everybody else that has been in lockdown and they have their issues of being restricted at home and not seeing families or friends,” he said.

“It must be difficult for them to be enclosed and the feeling of being trapped almost.”

Some of the residents have dementia and it is documented that music helps those with the disease.

“Studies have shown that patients who go back to something that is important in their lives benefit from that,” he said.

“I also think it is important because it is a bit of a distraction from being enclosed and being able to be out and about and listen to music, socialising with others and I think that is very important for them.”

Steven Noni Belilo from the Musicians Association of Gibraltar is organising these events.

Referring to the Bob and the Boys in particular Mr Belilo said that they are doing it because they are people who like to help.

“They do it because they love music obviously and they love helping out and we know how important music is for the residents who are currently in lockdown,” he said.

“So we are trying our best to at least provide half an hour of music for them.”

Entertainment will return to Mount Alvernia on Friday, weather permitting, with a performance by Cleopatra Porter.

“She sings copla, I think that is the kind of music they are going to like up there,” said Mr Belilo.

The Association aims to continue with these performance for as long as it can and in addition bring them to other elderly residents such as those in Albert Risso house.

“We are looking at playing there but we do not know when we are going to do it. Bob is up for it and we have as well Karina and others so we will take advantage of their generosity and let’s see if we can play more,” said Mr Belilo.

If anyone under the age of 70 wishes to take part in these events they can contact the Musicians Association of Gibraltar on their Facebook page.

“If they want to play, we will put up the PA system for them and we will try to make it happen,” he said.

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