A MAN that has spent 50 years as a musician conducting iconic musicals has had an ‘all singing, all dancing’ welcome from a Romsey nursing home.

David Benke, 89, has moved into Durban House and has been settling in surrounded by the music which has shaped his work spanning half a century.

A conductor for big musicals such as “My Fair Lady” and “Annie Get Your Gun”, the new resident has also worked with many orchestras, including the City of Southampton Orchestra and the Ringwood Musical and Dramatic Society.

With a passion for music, staff at Durban House wanted to ensure David had the welcome he deserved. To make him feel at home, he was shown how to stream his favourite music on to the big screen.

Karen Simmons, Home Manager at Durban House, said: “David’s one wish would be to visit Bayreuth in Germany, the home of Richard Wagner opera, and we wanted to make that wish come true.”

David was shown how to view a concert and take a virtual tour online of the German town.

David said: “I’ve had a right royal welcome to Durban House. I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by music, so it’s lovely to be able to do the same here. And to visit Bayreuth from the comfort of my armchair is truly astonishing.”

David has offered to pass on his passion of music to other residents.

The ex-conductor will be holding sessions each week to introduce others to his musical passion, and it was the Carnival of the Animals, composed by Camille Saint Saens, that he chose as his first piece.

Peter and the Wolf composed by Sergei Prokofiev, will be his next.

David will plan each session and will use his own records and record player.

Karen added: “The benefits of music to our residents is considerable, stimulating many parts of the brain at once. It assists to reduce anxiety and depression, supports cognition, speech, and memory.

“To have David here, passing on his passion to the rest of Durban House is wonderful. I’m looking forward to listening to more of the music he loves.”