Music practitioners

Heather Bentley – Singer and Musician

Heather BentleyHeather entertains in care homes across the island and has a special affinity with this age group. She is a singing and piano teacher who trained at the Royal Academy of Music from age 12 when she was awarded a Junior Exhibitioner Scholarship. Heather sings with Cantata and Ryde Chorus and has run vocal sessions in Northampton, from where she moved to the Island in 2014.

Heather passionately believes in the ability to access positive memories through music and song. Just like a strong aroma, a song can immediately transport you to the time when you enjoyed it and spark associated fond memories. Heather's musical interests spread from the American Songbook, British and American Musicals, musical theatre, songs from World Wars I and II to folk songs of the United Kingdom. She is a fan of artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland and sings some of their repertoire, accompanied by her father at jazz nights in Sandown.

Cool Connection – Music Duo

Cool ConnectionCool Connection perform jazz and blues music, fusing the sophisticated melodies of popular standards with the contemporary, cool sounds of modern lyricists. They have been performing and entertaining audiences over the years, interpreting the songs and lyrics of great songwriters from around the world with flair and originality. Featuring Ken Lowe on keyboards and Queenie B Cool on vocals and percussion, they pack a punch that belies their compact duo status.

Lizzie Flynn – Singer and Musician

Lizzie FlynnLizzie entertains in care homes across the island as a singer and musician. She has been engaged in musical activity all her life having performed in Musical Theatre productions since the age of 12. She has sung with many choirs and plays the piano guitar and cello. Lizzie retired from her business of 10 years, Fasbat Musical Theatre Company which provides classes for adults and children five years ago, and moved to the Isle of Wight to write and develop an educational programme. She has been involved in community projects in St Lawrence where she now lives, producing and directing the Christmas entertainment at the village hall.

She is passionate about encouraging people to engage in all things musical and loves the quote: “He who sings scares away his woes”. (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)

Lizzie also leads Independent Arts' Ventnor SingAbout group.

Steve French – Musician and Singer

Steve FrenchSteve is a former mathematics teacher but has always had a passion for music and putting on concerts. For many years he performed with his band Easy Street as lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist covering a range of material from Jazz to Rock’n’Roll. A keen songwriter, Steve has also written and recorded two albums.

Steve joined our practitioner roster in June 2015 and performs songs from early 1920s favourites to the swinging 60s and engages his audience by encouraging singalongs and percussive participation. 

Philip Fryer – Musician and Operatic Vocalist

Philip FryerPhilip's sessions comprise upbeat and catchy songs of various styles and from different eras to suit client choice. Simple percussion instruments can be used if clients have shown an inclination to clap or beat the rhythm.

Sessions are always enjoyable and designed to be socially inclusive, with the emphasis on participation.


Zarah Groves – SoundMoves

Zarah GrovesMusic and movement from a musician and qualified dance and movement practitioner.

Zarah's background was in classical dance and she ran a ballet school on the island before moving to Scotland where she taught the piano to private students and ran keep fit classes to all age groups. Zarah has an Honours Degree in Music and the Arts and is now back on the island teaching the piano.
Zarah believes that the love of music and movement can benefit everyone. In her music workshops she can bring her keyboard to play familiar songs, light jazz and classical music for residents to join in with or to just listen to and relax.
Her movement workshops involve gentle and expressive chair-based movement that will exercise and stretch every part of the body whilst listening to great music from the musicals and the jazz era. Always winding down, at the end, with breathing exercises to relaxing music.
Zarah can combine a session to have both movement and music included.

David Healy – Musician and Singer

David HealyDavid was a journalist before becoming a civilian press officer for the Armed Forces. His interest in music started as a choirboy at Exeter Cathedral; he got his first guitar at the age of 15 and over the years has collected a variety of other stringed musical instruments. Now retired from full-time work, he plays the guitar, banjo and sometimes the mandolin. His style is varied and includes music  hall, rock and roll, folk and the occasional humorous ditty.


Merlynna Johnson – Harpist and Singer

Merlynna JohnsonMerlynna returned to Independent Arts after several years on the mainland. She plays the harp and sings, choosing the repertoire to suit the group. Harp music helps to reduce anxiety levels, reduce pain and create easier breathing for most people. Merlynna can perform for groups, or interact with the group using a small lap harp that clients can play so they experience for themselves the wonderful sounds the harp can make.

Margaret Jones – Singer and Acoustic Guitarist

Margaret JonesMargaret Jones has many years of experience as a singer and performs songs old and new, accompanied by a gentle, acoustic guitar. Songs to listen to and songs to sing along to, all evoking memories and bringing the joy of music into your home for your residents.

Songs span the years from the 1940s to the present day, so there's something for everyone's taste.

Glenn Koppany

Glenn KoppanyGlenn has 25 years’ experience working as a Community Artist and in 2005 I graduated with a BA in Community Arts at Chichester University. He has worked in a wide variety of areas, with groups and individuals of varying age and ability and using different media including music, art and theatre.

Glenn also likes to spend time on his own work having the occasional art exhibition, performing in a folk group and writing, directing and performing in his own plays.

Ian Lloydall – Singer, Musician

Ian Lloydall"I discovered my love of entertaining later in life following retirement. I began by singing in a choir, graduated up to solo performances, and this blossomed into an absolute passion.  would describe my style as traditional music hall with a bit of soft shoe shuffle thrown in! I really like to engage with the audience and get them singing along and dancing too.

"My repertoire includes songs from the 1920s right through to the 1960s. I am known also for my unusual collection of hats which generally accompany my performances!"


John Mackessy – Musician

John MackessyJohn was born and raised in London, where he left school with no qualifications and went on to work as a plumber/gas fitter for 35 years, followed by 10 years as a postman. John moved to the Isle of Wight in 1998, where he achieved his City & Guild in English and Maths. He is self-taught in a range of musical instruments, which he uses in his sessions. In his spare time he is kept busy with his five children, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

John delivers workshops for Independent Arts in music and movement. In his sessions he likes to create a happy, relaxed atmosphere and encourage participation in music and gentle movement. He enjoys celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, prompting nostalgic anecdotes about times past and family memories. He says, "I’ve personally learnt a lot from these sessions: that I’m a good communicator and my enthusiasm is infectious! I seem to bring out the best in people."

Annie O Bree – Singer

Annette O BreeAnnette has been singing professionally since age fifteen, working with big bands, on cruise ships and with Thompson holidays, as well as appearing alongside entertainers such as Tommy Cooper, The Three Degrees and other big name acts. Her passion is to bring people together to enjoy music, and make singing fun, and she brings her vast experience and enjoyment of music to her sessions for Independent Arts.

John Shirley – Musician and Storyteller

John ShirleyJohn taught on the Isle of Wight for 33 years and is keen to pass on the skills he acquired during this time. He enjoys poetry, joke-telling, singing and playing guitar in equal measures. He enjoys the company of the elderly and creates an enjoyable and reciprocal ambience during sessions. 

John's sessions offer a variety of songs ranging from folk/pop to old time music hall. Singing sessions are accompanied on the guitar. Participation is offered through percussion instruments and specialist rhythm work is available, from handclapping to ethnic drumming. Sessions can be varied to suit client tastes and ages. Poetry readings are also available; these can be humorous or more reflective verse.

For general enquiries, or to discuss your requirements, please
contact us