Music therapy – Case history of a spontaneous session involving Grace from Montserrat
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
From Community Music Therapy – edited by Mercedes Pavlicevic and Gary Ansdell
One 'spontaneous' group happens on an afternoon when many of the staff are having a meeting. About 25 day care service users are sitting in the large activity room with the television on. It seems that a music group which involves them all might be appropriate, rather than a smaller open group in the music room. With their permission I switch the television off and the session starts.
They are seated in a circle around the edge of the room. Halfway through the session, Grace takes centre stage in the middle of the circle. She is from Montserrat, very tall, thin and agile. She starts to sing (and dance) a unique version of the Cole Porter song Don't Fence Me In.
Someone shouts in encouragement 'Go on girl'! Others around the circle join in or take short solos - some improvised, others know the song. An atmosphere and mood is created in which everyone is involved, whether singing or not, around a central individual 'performance'. Although Grace is the main 'performer' she allows space for others. I support on accordion and also sing.
At the end of the song, two comments reflect the different cultural back-grounds. A West Indian woman says 'Nice, nice' and a woman in more English tones says 'Jolly dee!' After the song Grace kisses my hand and sings another unique version of a popular song, Send Me the Pillow that You Dream On. During a final improvised song she goes around the circle and kisses each person in turn. I am apprehensive as to how some will take it, but all respond warmly. It is a spontaneous performance, with performers and audience.