“Music pre-dates all of the modern world – as old as our bones, skin and eyeballs and lugholes – it’s what’s we’re made of!” 

Jane, smiling, holding a large gourd rattle, next to a harp, with guitars on the wall behindWhat pulled you towards PMZ?

“I’ve never worked for a music charity before and there’s not that many around. However, I’ve come from a really musical family – not in a professional way, but I grew up watching my mum singing and dancing. My sister and I were doing duets standing at bus stops from the age of 5 or 6 – proper duets like who got the low / high bit. We did 1960’s soul music, but my mum loved her jazz and would sing and dance. My Grandad (who never came back from Burma) not only played Banjo and tin whistle really well, but he MADE them!

My mum had only died only a year previous to the job – it felt right to apply to PMZ. Right time, right place. This all happened during the pandemic. I saw the job advertised in May 2021. We were in about our third lockdown and I was sent all the materials, applied and got to interview. I then had a screen of people interviewing me, which was peculiar, but still very friendly and smiley. Afterwards I thought ‘They were a really nice bunch’. I started in early July 2021. The team wanted to make sure I felt supported. It was months before I actually got to meet people in person. I first met Anna wearing our scruffs to help paint the PMZ toilets! I met Steve, Simon and my first impressions were a lot of laughter – of course, coming out of lockdown and unused to being with anybody then that was a joy. This was going to be a good group to work with.

My first sessions I came to visit were online. I started attending Moving Sounds and I had to explain that I had to go off-screen because I was crying. The gentleness of the music leader with her lovely, welcoming participants, singing songs… just the power of it.

During the pandemic, PMZ had said to the world “we are not going to stop – we’ll just do it differently”. Seeing people in their wheelchairs and things at home, were still managing to connect on screen – that was amazing for me to connect too. Then to come in and see the sessions for real really triggered me emotionally – but in a really nice, positive way.

I then came into the Misfits once we were back in the building. The group were all proficient musicians. I did an interview with D who was sharing stories about having to evacuate to Lee Mill with her family living in a bus during the war and the one thing they took with them was the Piano – because that was critical to their survival.

It was the community I was meeting – I was recording memories and stories. As someone newer to PMZ, it was amazing to hear these extraordinary stories about why people love PMZ.

I went to ‘Baton Beats’ and met some people who were very vocal and articulate and others who couldn’t speak, yet everyone played the drums together. This was a big group with a huge breadth of skills and abilities. The people taking part included Knowledge Exchange students from Plymouth University. Everyone had the shared experience of going through hard times through the lockdown and it was great to see Rob’s lovely, gentle approach holding it all together.

Music pre-dates all of the modern world – as old as our bones, skin and eyeballs and lugholes – it’s what’s we’re made of!”

As PMZ’s Fundraising Manager, what would you say to somebody thinking about supporting PMZ by means of any kind of donation?

“However much you can afford, we will be grateful and will use that money to bring joy and dignity to peoples’ lives through music.

We all need creativity, music, connecting with other people just as much as the essentials, such as food and shelter. Now is definitely the time to be able to really help.”