Friday, October 28, 2016

'Young @ Heart' by Stephen Walker

28 October 2016

Flourish House in Glasgow is a Clubhouse that enables people with mental health difficulties to gain a sense of well-being. Members recover confidence and skills whilst achieving social, financial and vocational goals. It is part of an international network of Clubhouses that provide a safe environment to help people make the transition from hospital-based mental health care to re-entering everyday life. I was at Flourish House on Thursday evening for a film screening and discussion as part of Luminate 2016 and the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival. We watched the film ‘Young @ Heart’, Stephen Walker’s inspiring 2007 documentary about the Young @ Heart Chorus – a choir of singers in their seventies, eighties and nineties from Northampton, Massachusetts, who sing an unlikely repertoire of songs by Jimi Hendrix, Coldplay, Sonic Youth etc. It’s a wonderful film which shows older people having fun, not taking themselves too seriously but working hard towards a communal goal. These are clearly not the greatest singers in the world but the ecstatic reaction of the audiences for the choir’s performances completely rebuffs any concerns about ‘artistic quality’: the Young @Heart Chorus is obviously ‘great art’. The film really shows the individual characters of many of the singers and the deaths, during the filming, of some choir members is incredibly sad. Ultimately, though, this is a life-affirming story – funny, moving and completely inspirational. After the film, Richard Warden from the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival chaired a panel discussion involving a mental health nurse from a South Glasgow hospital and the director of a community choir based in the Gorbals. The film provoked a fascinating and uplifting discussion about mental health, ageing and the therapeutic power of singing. It was a lovely end to my two days in Scotland visiting Luminate Festival events.

Labels: ,


At 5:24 pm, Anonymous Flourish House said...

We have been so privileged to be part of this year's Luminate Festival and we were moved by the message of the film (which coincidentally was selected by our 55+ project out of a short list of 8!), and the panel discussion that followed. Truly reinforced the need for creative arts for older people, and the massive impact that these activities have on the older individuals, or any individual's wellbeing!

At 5:50 pm, Blogger Robin Simpson said...

Many thanks for your comment - it was great to visit Flourish House last week.


Post a Comment

<< Home