Ukulele players aged from nine-years-old to 90 showed off their musical talents in a display that linked the generations.
The Jungle Book-themed concert featured musicians from retirement living schemes Brooklands in Bradley and Belmont Grange at Norristhorpe, children from St Thomas School in Huddersfield and Holmfirth High, as well as residents from the wider community.
The concert was organised to celebrate the continued success of an inter-generational music project run by Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) and Kirklees Music School, supported by Local Services 2 You, a social enterprise in the Deighton-Brackenhall area.
The scheme, which began in 2013, has not only enabled the older people and children to learn new skills but has also resulted in great friendships between the two generations.
Danielle Hughes, of St Thomas School, said: “It’s a fantastic way for our children and the older residents in the community to break down barriers and stereotypes that they may have with each other, in doing so they learn about how cultures have adapted over time and in the words of our children ‘they are pretty cool really.’”
For former military training instructor and events co-ordinator, Rodney Coates, the benefits of the scheme have been decisive.
He moved into a retirement living scheme two years ago, and despite having terminal cancer, has found a new creative outlet through the ukulele orchestra.
He said: “Working with the children in the production of this concert has given me immense pleasure. They are a real tonic, better than any medication.”
Kirklees Music School’s Ginette Eady said the value of the project was plain to see. She said: “The groups have grown and progress has been better than ever. We have been learning more challenging pieces, helped along by the adults buddying up with the youngsters.
“The smiling faces say it all and the fact that the groups are growing in size tells its own story. As a teacher, it is a pleasure to work with such brilliant people who aren’t afraid of a new challenge in the golden years of their lives.”
Karina Sykes, KNH’s older people’s activities co-ordinator, said: “I’ve been delighted with the success of the project. Ginette has been an inspiration and everyone has such a great time while learning and developing their skills.
“It’s also wonderful to see the two generations forming bonds over a common interest. The combination of learning and socialising is really helping our older residents live life to the full.”