A new music release is always cause for celebration, but a new music DVD by Melbourne duo In the Mood goes a step further, raising the spirits of elderly Australians who have been isolated for more than 18 months during the global pandemic.
In the Mood comprises engaging husband-and-wife duo Ailsa Page and Phillip Campagna (pictured). The two musicians both have had parents and grandparents affected by dementia and living in aged-care facilities, and used music to connect with and entertain their loved ones.
In 2018, they took their music one step further, forming In the Mood, a touring duo bringing quality entertainment into aged-care homes. Their first performance was at Phil’s father’s nursing home in Newport (Vic), and the duo has since performed in aged-care facilities across Victoria.
“We wanted to engage residents, and to leave them feeling happy and noticed,” says Ailsa Page, whose mother and late grandmother both have had dementia and lived in aged-care facilities. In 2020, Phil’s father passed away during a lockdown, isolated and without family able to see him before he died. His death fuelled Phil’s passion to provide better quality of life for our elders.
However, with aged-care homes around Australia closed to outside entertainers since early 2020, and all their tour dates cancelled, the duo was forced to take its show online, performing via Zoom for several facilities from their home studio, with cameo performances from their geriatric dog, Maxi.
Realising that not everyone can access Zoom or YouTube, but that DVD players are still common with their audience, their latest innovation is a DVD of 15 of their most popular songs such as Let’s Twist Again and Delilah, with easy-to-read lyrics on the screen, as a replacement for their live shows.
“We’ve seen first-hand the immediate benefits of a good singalong with our parents and also the audiences that we sing to,” says Ailsa, who is touched by the response from their audiences. “I’ll never forget one performance where most of the audience was wheeled in on princess beds. I could still see them move their feet and fingers in time to the music.”
They continue to research songs that unlock memories and good feelings for their audience, using the principles of adult learning gerontology, music therapy and good, old-fashioned entertainment to engage and entertain older people in isolation. “I use Mum and Dad as research,” says Ailsa. “If it gets the thumbs up from them, it goes in the show.”
Singsational Sing-along DVD, RRP $39.95 including delivery within Australia, buy online at www.singalongdvd.com.au