Nursing homes around the world might only need to look to the Emerald Isle for a gem of an idea to help residents overcome a lack of social activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ireland-based cellist Gerald Peregrine has made it her mission to ensure facility residents stay entertained during the pandemic by hosting socially-distanced concerts during lockdown conditions. 

Peregrine, along with violinist Paul O’Hanlon, formed the Mobile Music Machine in 2007 in an effort to educate children about classical music. The organization took on a new purpose during the pandemic last year and expanded its outreach to nursing homes across Ireland out of concern about social isolation setting in. 

Peregrine and crew have since performed more than 160 socially-distanced concerts at nursing homes, other residential care settings and psychiatric units. Last week, the organization performed 10 concerts for nursing homes across Carlow County, Ireland, thanks to a push by the county’s local arts association and tourism agency.  

“We are delighted now to provide another series of concerts across the county to residents again. This time, we [were] fortunate enough that families of those residents [were] also able to watch the performances safely,” said Sinead Dowling, arts officer for the Carlow County Council.

Dowling added that the impact the music had on residents “was truly uplifting.” The county said it hopes to have the group perform more in the future. 

“We look forward to the great reaction live music can bring, both for the musicians performing and for all the families and residents,” Dowling said.