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The Pearlers Band Together to Play in Retirement Living and Residential Care

The Pearlers band

In the heart of the tropical paradise of Pearl Retirement Resort a band is continuing to meet an average of three times a week to bring music to the ears of the Pearl community.

The Pearlers began more than four years ago when retirement resident Bill Roy began looking for interested neighbours to help him pursue his passion of performing for aged care residents.

Bill moved into the village to be closer to his wife of 25 years, who had moved into Pearl Supported Care.

The couple had previously performed together across a number of aged care homes in Darwin.

After settling into Pearl Bill found that enriching the lives of people in Residential Care through music was something several of his neighbours were also interested in.

“I met some people here and I thought they might be interested in helping and they had an interest in music so we put the word out and they all came along and joined, some playing musical instruments and some just singing,” he said.

At the height of the group there were 14 members and currently the performers number about half of that.

They practice once a week on a Sunday at The Clubhouse and have always performed an average of twice a week, not just at Pearl Supported Care but at other facilities as well and the occasional retirement resident dinner.

“There’s two things I get out of it, first of all I get the pleasure and enjoyment of seeing people doing something they really want to do and improving their skills, whether it’s playing music or whether it’s singing,” Bill said.

“And the offshoot of that of course is we then go and perform for the less fortunate people in the community and I know how important music is to those people - it’s one of the things that seems to last the longest with them and it gives me and the whole group real pleasure just to see people enjoying themselves and singing along with us, tapping along or humming along, whatever they can do.”

The Pearlers have amassed a repertoire of about 150 songs and have specialty sets for themed concerts such as Christmas, St Patrick’s Day and the Melbourne Cup.

“We’ve found over the years that the more diverse you can be the better - we play country music, we play old time rock-n-roll music, we play pop music, and we do a lot of sing a long stuff, which works very well with our audiences,” Bill said.

Although creating the backing tracks and organising the group takes up a lot of Bill’s time, he isn’t planning on slowing down for fear his wife would find out; “my wife would razz me up if I ever did slow down…we agreed we’d do it as long as we could”.

Plus, there’s the feelings of the group members to take into account.

Bill explained, “There’s a number of people that say if they didn’t have this they don’t know what they’d do.”