‘It’s terrific fun when you can sing your heart out. It’s joyous.’Singing with Friends choir member
Celebrating their first year together, Wigmore Hall’s choir for families living with dementia Singing with Friends will this evening perform in a very special concert at Buckingham Palace.
The event honours Princess Alexandra’s Patronage of Music for Life, Wigmore Hall’s pioneering programme for people living with dementia, as well as that of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir and Alzheimer’s Society.
The four organisations will come together for a unique performance which celebrates the power of music and its ability to enrich the lives of people living with dementia, and their families, friends and carers.
John Gilhooly, who will introduce the concert, said 'Tonight we celebrate the power of music and how it can transform lives. A diagnoses of dementia can bring great challenges, but all of our work with these choirs proves that many lives can be enhanced and enriched, and these activities deserve to be recognised and supported.'
Music for Life is a pioneering programme for people living with dementia and their family friends and carers. The project was founded by Linda Rose in 1993 and has been led by Wigmore Hall since 2009. Over the course of the years the programme has continued to develop from working primarily in care settings to incorporate a growing number of projects and events in community settings and at the Hall itself. We are proud to work in partnership to provide a range of meaningful opportunities for people at all stages of dementia.
We believe that dementia should not stop people from doing the things they love, or from trying new things. With the right support people can live well with dementia, and Wigmore Hall is committed to this goal: helping to build a dementia-friendly society and enabling people living with dementia to continue accessing high quality, life-enriching musical experiences.
‘It widens the horizons of my life. It gives me a lot of happiness and it keeps me going. I feel there is something very, very good about it and that it’s nice to be alive here.’Singing with Friends choir member
As part of the ongoing development of our Music for Life programme, we are delighted to have launched our first choir for families living with dementia in partnership with Resonate Arts. The group meets weekly and together chose the name Singing with Friends, which captures the essence of the sessions perfectly. There is a strong focus on vocal production and technique as well as exploring an ambitious range of repertoire, from sea shanties to opera. Sessions are led in a responsive, person-centred way, working in the moment to connect and communicate through singing. Since its formation in January 2017, the choir has gone from strength to strength, sharing many musical moments and successes together including taking part in a recording for BBC Radio 3, giving termly performances on stage at Wigmore Hall and being selected as a finalist for a Dementia Care Award in the Outstanding Arts and Creativity in Dementia Care category.