The Mobile Music Machine blooms in Waterford garden

HSE Media Release: 11 September 2020

The 'Mobile Music Machine' a classical string quartet, engaged an audience this week in two, separate socially distance appropriate recitals in the garden of the Dept. of Psychiatry acute mental health inpatient unit in University Hospital Waterford.

The event was the latest in Creative Ireland’s programme of “COVID Care Concerts” across residential healthcare settings in Co. Waterford, arranged by the Mobile Music Machine in partnership with the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and in conjunction with care providers – the HSE/South East Community Healthcare in this instance. 

The Creative Ireland Programme is a government initiative which places creativity at the centre of public policy. It is a culture-based programme, designed to promote individual, community and national well-being.

The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival is centred on events customarily staged each June bank holiday at Lismore Castle in Co. Waterford but also has a wider programme of promoting opera and classical music. This year, following on from the necessary cancellation of the festival weekend and a re-imagining of its activities in the context of Covid-19, the Festival was awarded national funding by Creative Ireland to deliver a new programme of COVID Care Concerts in residential care settings across Waterford city and county.

The Mobile Music Machine are a classical string ensemble, led by established cello soloist, chamber and orchestral musician Gerald Peregrine. They are also a leading national music education company. Acting as compere for their appearance at the DoP garden in Waterford this week, Gerard set many of their recital pieces in context for the audience of service users and staff – whether a preamble to the ensemble’s playing of Abba’s “Mama Mia” or mentioning which cinema movie or television advertisement some of the songs and music may have an association with. Three other leading names in the Irish classical music and opera scene featured in the performance – violinist Lynda O’ Connor, baritone singer Rory Musgrave and Carla Vedres on the viola.

Dr Denise Rogers (Senior Clinical Psychologist, Waterford/Wexford Mental health Services), who had worked with Creative Ireland to develop the project, said:

“The 44 bed Department of Psychiatry, located on the grounds of University Hospital Waterford is centre for acute mental health inpatient services for the counties of Waterford and Wexford. Staff, service users and their families in each case have faced enormous challenges over the last six months in the context of the many restrictions and other effects on everyday lives that the pandemic has brought. There has, however, been an impressive response all round in ensuring that safety has been to the fore from day to day.”

“The COVID Care Concerts is a new project, designed to bring classical music into the lives of vulnerable members of society and those often most affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. When we learned of the opportunity for Mobile Music Machine, partnered with the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and supported by Creative Ireland, to come to us, we were delighted. Everyone that gathered here this afternoon for what were two performances, will have been impressed at how the beautiful music and song literally touched a chord with them. We look forward to the joy that was brought to us today being part of a long-lasting friendship between such musical initiatives and residents this and other HSE/South East Community Healthcare mental health and other residential healthcare settings.”

Judith Murphy, who is Clinical Nurse Manager 2 and the Recreational and Recovery Day Programmes Services Co-Ordinator at the DoP in Waterford said:

“Mobile Music Machine’s visit was fantastic. Our service users and my fellow team members thoroughly enjoyed it. We look forward to welcoming the Blackwater Valley Opera/COVID Care Concerts back to the Department of Psychiatry as part of our Recreation, Recovery and Therapeutic Programmes. Our aim is for such occasions to be a regular feature at the DoP.”


Last updated on: 11 / 09 / 2020