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World-famous Wanstead musicians bring popular lockdown concerts to hospitals, hospices and homes

PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 November 2020

Opera singer Lucy Crowe and husband Joe Walters performed lockdown concerts for their Wanstead neighbours and are now offering their services up as a Christmas gift. Picture: Mike Edwards

Opera singer Lucy Crowe and husband Joe Walters performed lockdown concerts for their Wanstead neighbours and are now offering their services up as a Christmas gift. Picture: Mike Edwards

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A world-renowned opera singer held lockdown concerts with her musician husband outside their Wanstead home during the first wave and are now offering personalised concerts for those who miss live music.

The pair performed outside their home in Oakhall Road and in neighbouring streets. Picture: Mike EdwardsThe pair performed outside their home in Oakhall Road and in neighbouring streets. Picture: Mike Edwards

Right before the first lockdown hit Lucy Crowe had just come back from a three-week residence at Carnegie Hall, New York, and was suddenly grounded.

Lucy and her husband Joe Walters, who plays the French horn and has performed in Live Aid concerts with Paul McCartney and Bono, would regularly travel with their daughter but were suddenly stuck at home without a job and any opportunities to perform.

With each passing day feeling like the movie Groundhog Day, Joe decided to mark the end of each day with a horn call to give their neighbours something to focus on and to unite the community as they survived another day in the midst of the pandemic.

After a few nights Lucy joined him outside their home in Oakhall Road and around 7pm they would hold a concert – a mix of everything from arias and show tunes to pop songs from Aretha Franklin, REM and Kylie Minogue.

The pair performed for Haven House Children's Hospice and patients at Whipps Cross Hospital as well. Picture: Mike EdwardsThe pair performed for Haven House Children's Hospice and patients at Whipps Cross Hospital as well. Picture: Mike Edwards

The concerts became a big hit and their neighbours started dropping off wine and sent them thank you cards for keeping them sane during an otherwise dark and lonely period.

Lucy told the Recorder: “It was hard not singing at first because it’s my life so it turned into such a special time to be able to do that for our neighbours.

“To help people escape the anxiety-filled day and connect them with each other through music has been amazing.”

One of the positives of lockdown was meeting their neighbours who they barely knew because the pair travelled so often for work, though their daughter still misses tagging along with them and seeing the world.

Lucy said: “As a little girl I dreamt of performing in Covent Garden and while it was such a thrill to be able to do that and perform around the world it was just as fulfilling to sing to my neighbours.”

They also performed at Haven House Children’s Hospice, Woodford Green, and three times for patients and staff at Whipps Cross Hospital in a ward which had the most Covid deaths at the time.

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They performed for stroke victims as well and saw tears streaming down their faces. The nurses said they saw their patients come alive in a way they hadn’t seen before.

Lucy said: “Music and art is hugely important because it heals people and transports them.

“It’s so vital for their souls.”

The couple are also looking to take their concerts into care homes.

Joe was able to get a little bit of support from the government but Lucy hasn’t and they don’t know what the future holds for them with uncertainty about how long the second lockdown will go on for if it is extended.

Since their concerts were such a hit they decided to offer up their services for anyone who wants to book them for a personalised Christmas gift where they can perform for someone at their front door.

Before the second lockdown they were able to perform for a few birthday parties and hen/stag/hag dos.

“We performed a concert for someone’s mum and she was so thrilled and couldn’t stop talking about it.

“Hearing a voice so close up is quite powerful.”

Lucy is used to performing for thousands of people in enormous opera houses where she can barely see the audience so she said it’s a real treat to be able to look directly into the face of the person she is singing to.

She said since some people struggle to come up with fresh gift ideas for their loved ones they are hoping their personalised concerts might be a good option so they could help spread the love and some Christmas cheer.

To book a personalised concert email lucycrowe@hotmail.com


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