‘My Fair Lady’ conductor arrives at Romsey’s nursing home
A MAN who has spent 50 years as a musician directing iconic musicals received an “all sing, all dance” welcome from a nursing home in Romsey.
David Benke, 89, moved to Durban House and settled down surrounded by the music that shaped his work for half a century.
Conductor of major musicals such as “My Fair Lady” and “Annie Get Your Gun”, the new resident has also worked with numerous orchestras, including the City of Southampton Orchestra and the Ringwood Musical and Dramatic Society.
With a passion for music, the staff at Durban House wanted to make sure David got the welcome he deserved. To make him feel at home, he was shown how to stream his favorite music to the big screen.
Karen Simmons, Head of House at Durban House, said: “David’s only wish would be to visit Bayreuth in Germany, the home of Richard Wagner’s opera, and we wanted to make that wish come true. ”
David learned how to watch a concert and take an online virtual tour of the German city.
David said: “I had a very royal welcome at Durban House. I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by music, so it’s nice to be able to do the same here. And visiting Bayreuth from the comfort of my armchair is truly amazing.
David offered to pass on his passion for music to other residents.
The former conductor will host weekly sessions to introduce others to his musical passion, and it is the Carnival of the Animals, composed by Camille Saint Saens, that he has chosen as his first piece.
Peter and the Wolf composed by Sergei Prokofiev, will be his next.
David will plan each session and use his own records and record player.
Karen added, “The benefits of music for our residents are enormous, stimulating many parts of the brain at once. It helps reduce anxiety and depression, supports cognition, speech and memory.
“Having David here, passing his passion on to the rest of Durban House is wonderful. Can’t wait to listen to more music he loves.