Marlene and John singing for joy

News & Events

Marlene and John singing for joy

April 15, 2018

Marlene and John Green have been singing to someone for a good chunk of their lives and they have no plans to stop. They have spent decades singing in choirs, to nursing home residents, in competitions and around the house. Now they spend each Tuesday and Wednesday singing with residents at Liscombe House, OCAV’s aged care facility.

The Greens had been living at the Leith Park village in St Helena a couple of years when they started doing Wednesday’s happy hour. They were a little more mobile then and could walk up the slight hill to Liscombe House. These days they are picked up by one of Leith Park’s gardeners and dropped at the front door of Liscombe House.

Each week Marlene tickles the ivories and sings and John supports her and the dozen or so residents who attend the happy hour. He helps people get to the lounge room and hands around the singing books for residents to use.  After the singing, drinks are shared.

Happy hour has been a weekly highlight for the residents since Marlene and John volunteered to take over the event about eight years ago. The residents love the social get together and so do the Greens.

“Part of the fun of it for us is seeing how much pleasure the residents experience from singing. Most of them don’t really need the books because they remember the songs. We choose older songs that most of them have known for decades. It is better to choose familiar music so that some of the residents, who have trouble remembering, can join in,” Marlene said.

“Music is a gift and we have been given these gifts to share with other people. We both feel it is a good place for us to go each week,” John said. The couple is also part of the Leith Park choir that sings at Liscombe House each Tuesday. Though choir numbers are dwindling they still sing for residents who may not be well enough to participate in Wednesday’s happy hour.

They are grateful for all the support they get at Leith Park, which they have come to love since moving from Maryborough, where they were also immersed in community events – and singing.

“We loved living in Maryborough but we decided to move back to Melbourne and to Leith Park because of the security of knowing we have the different levels of care here if we should need it one day,” Marlene said.

John and Marlene have made the most of the activities and community life at Leith Park and until recently tried to participate in as many events and outings as possible. John, 86, plays indoor bowls at Leith Park and still loves to walk as often and as far as he can.

“We sold the car about three years ago and it’s amazing the wildlife and flowers you notice walking everywhere,” he said.

Marlene no longer plays indoor bowls and while her ‘mobility has diminished’, her capacity to play the piano has not. She learned when she was six years old and is grateful she can still play.

“Music is a beautiful thing, it really is. And sharing it is a privilege.”

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