A DUET of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by performers almost a century apart in age took place at a Teesside care home for BBC Music Day.
99-year-old pianist Jim Cargill and two-year-old singer Poppie Haslam brought the house down at The Gables Care Home, on Highfield Road, with their rendition of the classic nursery rhyme.
Poppie, the granddaughter of resident James Haslam, joined Jim at the piano for the song, which they performed in front of an audience of residents, staff, family members and friends.
Jim also played his favourite songs, Oklahoma and The Lambeth Walk, before taking requests from the audience, which included Long Way to Tipperary and You Are My Sunshine.
He has been playing piano for more than 93 years and brought his prized possession with him when he moved into The Gables Care Home in January 2018.
He said: “I liked having the audience and really enjoyed playing the piano for them,” jokingly adding: “I charge £17 per head.”
The event for BBC Music Day, which saw the launch of the BBC Music Memories website specifically for those living with dementia, also included a music therapy session.
The session was led by Allison O’Neill, the owner of Saltburn based Guiding Light School of Holistic Education and Healing, who brought various instruments and musical items so residents and visitors could accompany Jim’s piano.
She said: “Finding the right instrument can make a person want to participate instead of just passively listening.
“When this happens you can see the sense of unity. We also play music from around the world so the multicultural nature of it helps to foster a sense of community.”
Resident Jean Polano, 81, said: “This is such great fun. I loved the belly dancer skirt and the noise it makes when I move.”
Pam Rodgers, home manager at The Gables Care Home, said: “Music is so important for people who have dementia. It reminds them of their younger days and brings a smile to their faces. It’s like a light goes on when they are listening and playing instruments.”
The BBC Music Memories website and its Memory Radio function aims to stimulate memory through music by helping people to reconnect with music from their past using the extensive BBC archives. Visit www.musicmemories.bbcrewind.co.uk/ to learn more.