Montefiore Jewish Home, Hunters Hill, 24th March 2014

Another first today – having performed two concerts at the Randwick campus of Montefiore Homes, Fiona and I were invited to do a series of concerts for Montefiore in Hunters Hill. It was a dark and stormy… day, absolutely bucketing down, and we were located in the ‘sunroom’, where rain fell incessantly onto the atrium. Nonetheless, we managed to bring sunshine to our beautiful crowd of about 20 residents. I greeted everyone with ‘Nobles Seigneurs, Salut’, from Les Huguenots, by Jewish composer Meyerbeer, who was the father of grand French opera – so of course very well received amongst this predominantly Jewish crowd. We did what has become ‘standard repertoire’ – almost de rigueur – Carmen (Habanera and Seguidilla), Voi Che Sapete and some 1940s songs (Bluebirds over the whie cliffs of dover, Lilacs in the Spring). Today was a first for me, as we included the absolutely wonderful, creamy and gorgeous ‘Mon Coeur s’ouvre a ta voix’ from Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saens. Seductive and oh-so-beautiful to sing, it was a huge hit.

In fact, the whole concert went down so well, we had nurses sneaking around the corner to have a look, and every single resident I spoke to after the gig (as I always do) said how much they loved it and enjoyed themselves. One lady, with tears in her eyes, said ‘You brought my husband back to me’ and for another it was her 3rd day in the home and clearly it made her feel so much happier to be there. It gives me such a buzz to know I’m bringing joy to people’s lives.

One very funny highlight: I make a big effort to be as glamorous as possible (within the realms of tasteful), so I had my beautiful Vietnamese silk wedding dress in bright red and gold, big dangly earrings, plenty of makeup and bright red lips, sequinned high heels etc. One fabulous resident said, ‘You look so beautiful. Are you wearing any underpants?’

We finished off with Happy Birthday (as the occasion was the celebration of March Birthdays) and ‘We’ll Meet Again’. I’m looking forward to meeting these residents again in a couple of months. In the meantime, we have another concert at the same place (for a different crowd) planned for tomorrow…