Jennie Muskett and her dad are both musicians. They both live in Highgate, her dad, who is now blind, in a care home near her. Together they make – or they made – regular trips to concerts in the centre of the city, often topping off the evening with a bite to eat on the way home.
But then came the pandemic. Not only could they no longer go to concerts but Jennie could not even visit him. Unable to bear the thought of her dad alone and totally deprived of live music, Jennie talked to her friend the violist, Virginia Slater. They recruited a pianist friend, Adam Johnson, and Virgina’s husband to do the techie stuff, and recorded a chamber concert that could be played to Jennie’s dad and the residents in his care home. It was such a success that they decided to do more – many more…. Music With Love was born and nearly a year later they have recorded and streamed 36 concerts!
As a successful composer herself (here she is introducing the Chineke! concert last month), Jennie was in a great position to find musicians who might be able to play for her. Deprived of any chance to play live concerts themselves, the musicians were only to happy to get involved even though Jennie could not afford to pay them. (She is hoping that even though things are now becoming easier, she will be able to continue to make these recordings but that in the future she may be able to pay the musicians. She has started a crowfunding page here to enable her to do just that.)
So, who has appeared in Jennie’s concerts? A wonderfully diverse roster of artists with a wonderfully diverse selection of programmes: trios, quartets, horn and piano, a jazz trio, a pair of cellos, a soul singer and a folklore group – from Bach to Mancini, American classic songs, the life of Kathleen Ferrier……. They have all appeared in front of her microphones over the last nine months – and you can still listen to some of them on the Past Concerts page of the Artists’nResidents site.
The culmination was the Chineke! concert that Jennie organised for the Highgate Festival last month in Lauderdale House – two folksongs by Florence Price followed by an electrifying rendering of Schubert’s Trout Quintet. The concert was a rave success and was streamed to the care home residents a few days later – but you can hear on their YouTube channel until 1st August.
Music With Love is taking a little rest right now but keep an eye on their forthcoming concerts page. Who knows what might appear….