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Sing up, you won’t be all on your own…

Classically trained pianist holds video-call sessions to help elderly residents tackle loneliness

05 February, 2021 — By Calum Fraser

Gisela Meyer takes requests during hour-long meetings using online Zoom video calls

A CLASSICALLY trained pianist has kept some of Islington’s elderly residents upbeat with monthly sing-along sessions.

Gisela Meyer, 50, has brought together pensioners around Clerkenwell since May last year singing some “evergreen” classics and taking requests during their hour-long meetings using online Zoom video calls.

Ms Meyer, who provides the sessions free of charge, was inspired to start the singing group when she was contacted by the Peel Institute charity which tackles loneliness.

“We always have a good laugh,” the mother-of-three said. “I started the group when I was furloughed and I wanted to take the opportunity to get involved in the community and get to know more people.

“My dream is that one day, we may be able to meet safely in a bigger hall and do this live.”

Ms Meyer, of St John Street, sends an email out every Friday inviting the members of the group to send in song requests.

Yen-Yen Teh, who takes part in the sing-along, said: “I look forward to Gisela’s enthusiasm and bubbly personality, which is infectious. It feels like a real community with regulars getting together, and new people dropping in.”

Sara Bloch, The Peel’s Community Manager, said: “We want to help as many locals as possible to start a community project that brings people together despite the current restrictions. There are so many passionate and skilled people like Gisela in the area. Helping people like her bring their ideas to the community is a real pleasure.”

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