Residents on Berkshire Road were delighted to come out on the street to enjoy and listen to a music extravaganza played and sung by other residents in their front gardens on Saturday evening.
Opening with Holly, Sam and Tom Harrison, the trio played All I Want by Kodaline and Always Remember Me this Way. Young and old then followed including Laura Reineke who organised the concert and her daughters, Ava and Mae and their next door neighbour Beatrice who sang Let It Be. One of the resident’s dogs enjoyed the concert too and wanted to join in, barking over the fence. Everyone joined in at the end to sing Simon & Garfunkel’s classic Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Laura said, “I just thought it would be a great way of giving people something to do and raising spirits, I’m also full of ridiculous ideas and like to keep busy. I am the Henley Mutual Aid area coordinator for this area for the Henley Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group, and I’ve noticed that a lot of people are very stressed and anxious about what is happening, so having something where you can just sit in your garden, open a window etc was just a bit of fun, and a way of keeping the community connected and supported. We also had a live feed on the Henley Music School Facebook page, and had people watching from Canada, Switzerland, USA etc. which was amazing.”
Laura put a message out on the Berkshire WhatsApp group asking if anyone would like to perform. Laura commented, “Luckily we are the most musically minded road in Henley, so lots of volunteers came forward. Usually we have a monthly get together on our road, the last Friday of each month everyone meets outside our house with their refreshment of choice and has a natter, we sometimes have a BBQ, and the children play – so really this was just an extension of that, only we had to stay 2m apart.”
Jenny Day who played violin with her Tom said, “When Laura suggested the idea many weeks ago it seemed like a great plan to entertain the community at a time of need. I enjoy playing a bit of uplifting Folk fiddle. Also, I thought that I should set an example to my children! I asked them to play as they haven’t performed together in years and love it when they do. It was a really moving event. Looking down the road and seeing so many people standing outside their houses to listen made it very worthwhile.”
Kate Makkar said, “There was a real sense of community spirit and of being there for each other through this difficult time. Laura did an amazing job of arranging the concert. It was lovely to see so many people in their gardens and at their windows.”
Laura added, “I believe that it is vital at times like this to support your community, neighbours and friends, with so many failing businesses, money worries, people fighting for their lives we all need to pull together. We proved that music is a good medicine as well as being good for the soul. I have to say our fingers were frozen, and the music was blown everywhere – but that was all part of the experience. We will have more of them as it has now been named the Berkshire Road Front Garden Music Series (and it means I get to play my violin)! There were a flurry of messages on the road WhatsApp group saying how much everyone enjoyed it, so I’m delighted that we brought smiles to our street!”