Nick Benson

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The Music Scene: Music’s tribute to NHS and others on the frontline

While music is providing a moment of relief, it’s also offering us an avenue to pay tribute to our heroes, NHS staff and key workers, writes Nick Benson

As the UK lockdown continues, it is difficult to escape from the current circumstances concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, but one way people are getting some respite is through music.

Right now everyone is stuck in the same predicament, experiencing feelings of anxiety, sadness and worry as the pandemic is affecting all areas of life, whether it be work, school, home life or social activities.

Throughout life everyone experiences ups and downs – as former Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating once sang, “Life is a roller coaster” – and some may wish to express these feelings and thoughts through the universal art form of music, or they might want to escape from them.

The one positive that has come from the pandemic is that, while families, friends and colleagues may have to literally stay apart by adhering to social distancing regulations, it is figuratively bringing communities closer together.

One shining example of this is our weekly tribute to frontline staff who are caring for those suffering with the virus. Each Thursday communities gather at their windows and front doors to ‘Clap For Our Carers’.

This pandemic has led to questions about our society and how it holds sports stars, musicians, actors and actresses high on a pedestal, while those who really contribute to it seem to be taken for granted.

There have been many tributes paid to those who really contribute to our society over the past few weeks, including the aforementioned ‘Clap For Our Carers’ initiative and fundraisers.

The most significant of all came from the then 99-year-old war veteran and national treasure Captain Tom Moore, who raised more than £28 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday on Thursday, 30th April.

As The Music Scene noted last week, world-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli brought hope through his solo Easter performance, and now our beloved universal art form has become a further avenue for tributes to those who protect us, with Captain Tom leading the way.

Captain Tom, who recently received a Pride Of Britain Award and opened the new Nightingale Hospital in his native Yorkshire appearing by video link, became the oldest artist to reach number one on the UK singles chart last week as his poignant and apt rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone landed in the top spot in time for his 100th birthday. Captain Tom teamed up with crooner Michael Ball & The NHS Voices of Care Choir for the song, as part of his continued fundraising efforts during the coronavirus crisis.

Other musical contributions include one from Charlie Knowles, 52, a leading London surgeon and country singer. Charlie has produced a touching ballad in memory of NHS and other key workers who have lost their lives fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Knowles, 52, said the ballad is “close to home” for him as he has lost a friend in Italy to Covid-19 and is worried about his colleagues fighting for their lives in ICU.

The ballad aims to raise money for families of people who have died or been incapacitated by coronavirus. Over £3,500 was donated in the first 24 hours of its release and by the end of last week the fundraiser had almost reached its target of £10,000.

The artists mentioned in this Music Scene, as well as the many others who are paying tribute to our heroes, should be commended for their work.

However, ultimately, it is our often overlooked NHS and social care workers and the many key workers – whether they assist us in our weekly shop, drive much-needed medicine and food products to these stores and pharmacies, or collect our waste from our homes – that we must thank.

On behalf of us all, thank you, take care and stay safe.

• To donate to Captain Tom Moore’s NHS fundraiser, see: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tomswalkforthenhs

• To donate to Charlie Knowles’ NHS fundraiser, see: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ballad-for-the-nhs

Picture: Captain Tom Moore celebrating after reaching Number One in the Official Singles Chart with his rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball and The NHS Voices Of Care Choir. (Emma Sohl/Capture The Light Photography/PA).

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