In celebration of World Alzheimer’s Day on Monday 21st September, Live Music Now Wales is announcing a wide range of remote and in-person dementia-friendly activities for older people.
Alongside our Zoom 1-1 sessions for children with additional needs and disabilities, Live Music Now Wales has been piloting remote online performances for older people in the community who are currently shielding. Delivered by Alis Huws, Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales, these concerts offer an opportunity for social interaction and connection that people who have not been able to leave their homes have greatly missed.
“Due to health issues, I have been shielding and have only left the house for exercise. Playing the piano and singing with others is usually a weekly occurrence for me. Obviously, the lockdown put an end to that. The experience awakened my senses and my love of music, and the human connection I felt was quite profound, especially during this time of prolonged isolation.” – Mrs Jones, a participant
“It transported me to a different place which made me relaxed and happy. It was so uplifting, to have such close contact with live music. It gave us a night out in our home where we could dress up and forgot that we were having it on Zoom.”– Mrs Wilkins, a participant
Mr and Mrs Wilkins enjoy their live performance complete with wine and cheeseboard!
Concerts and Cream Teas at Home
Concerts and Cream Teas is a digital version of our popular Concerts and Cakes programme – an initiative to bring older people in the community together regularly to share high quality live music experiences. Each session is dementia-friendly and includes an informal participatory music session led by Live Music Now musicians, followed by tea and cakes. Dementia-friendly concerts are a fundamental part of Live Music Now Wales’ community outreach, with Concerts and Cakes running successfully across several Welsh arts venues including The Riverfront (Newport), The Coliseum (Aberdare) and Y Ffwrnes (Carmarthenshire).
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to cancel several monthly C&C events across Wales. Although we have a vast library of dementia-friendly online recorded concerts, we were keen to find a way to bring music to the community for those with limited or no access to the internet, as well as to include the opportunity to enjoy a cup of tea and a cake. Our new Concerts and Cream Teas at Home initative will be offered to older people in the community in the form of a professional, high-quality DVD and the activity pack will include a freshly made scone, mini jam and a tea bag, along with an information pack. If you would like to take part, please contact [email protected] for more information.
Bethan Williams-Jones and Sam Humphrey’s concert is just one of those that will be available on the Concerts and Cream Teas DVD.
Awen Cultural Trust Partnerships – ‘Awen on the Road’
LMN Wales is working alongside Awen Cultural Trust to deliver two projects in Bridgend care homes.
Live Music Now Wales has worked in partnership with Awen Cultural Trust for many years, regularly running varied daytime, nostalgic and accessible events at their venues across Bridgend county, such as the Grand Pavilion, Maesteg Town Hall and libraries. With all concerts in 2020 sadly being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Awen decided to take these events “on the road”, bringing performances originally intended for the stage into care homes and supporting groups in the local area. In conjunction with BAVO and Arts Council Wales, we are working hard to try and continue this project despite new restrictions, aiming to reach more people in their own spaces, with options such as outdoor performances where we are permitted and safe or live digital experiences. These concerts will either take place over video conferencing tool Zoom, or in the outdoor spaces surrounding the care homes, where residents can listen from indoors whist maintaining a safe distance.
“We’re grateful for our partnership with LMN in reaching and connecting with vulnerable people and people affected by Dementia and Alzheimer’s. The “Awen on the Road” project will be running from winter 2020 to summer 2021, developing and amending in accordance with changing rules and regulations, aiming to get arts experiences out of our venues and out to people all across the borough.” – Nicola Edwards, Programme and Events Manager, Awen
LMN Wales has also partnered with Stronger Together Bridgend, a separate project also created by Awen Cultural Trust on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council at the start of lockdown in an attempt to engage older people at home creatively.
Stronger Together Bridgend was developed to help older people tell their stories and share them widely in innovative and creative ways, especially at this time of global uncertainty. Since March, the small project team has been capturing both personal and communal stories within the community using online video calls and even telephone conversations. These stories, along with poems sent in from the community, have been turned into short videos that premiere every Friday at 2pm as part of the STB LIVE magazine style programme on Facebook before they are individually released on YouTube. Other activities have included an online choir and even live virtual music performances by local artists. STB and LMN Wales aim to create a similar collection of videos and poems using our remote and outdoor concerts as a catalyst.
“The small Stronger Together Bridgend team is by no means alone in this work and we are proud to announce that we are currently part of a co-creative network in the area consisting of organisations that all believe in the power of stories for change. Our next venture is with LMN delivering live and virtual musical performances in care homes in our area” – Andre van Wyk (STB coordinator on behalf of Awen Cultural Trust)
Mewn Tiwn Coming Soon
An intergenerational music programme developed by LMN Wales is hoped to pilot in various memory cafes in early 2021. Inspired by professional cricket player and BBC Sports commentator Peter Walker, Mewn Tiwn (In Tune) has been specifically created for older people living with dementia who want to:
- Have a go at playing any instrument or already know how to play any instrument
- Socialise and play music with others
- Try something new in a safe space
Although mostly remembered for his contributions to the sporting world, Peter Walker had a secret talent – After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis four years ago, Mr Walker rediscovered his passion for jazz clarinet. LMN Wales ensemble The Michael Blanchfield Trio had the opportunity to play alongside Mr Walker, before he sadly passed away earlier this year.
Much like Mr Walker, many people have learnt an instrument in their youth but neglected playing as they aged, due to ill health or lack of opportunity and encouragement. Other older people may also lack the confidence but not the desire to learn a new musical skill. Research also shows that musical memories remain intact for those living with dementia, and their ability to play music and recollect lyrics is maintained. This empowers participants, increasing their self-worth, confidence and identity. Therefore, Mewn Tiwn has been created to provide a safe, bespoke, social setting for people at all levels to play as part of a band regardless of instrument and ability whilst utilising the many therapeutic benefits of live music. Mewn Tiwn will run thanks to funding from Cardiff and Vale Action for Mental Health’s ICF Dementia Friendly Communities pot.
Peter and the band enjoy a post-gig beverage.
“It was a real privilege to meet Peter and to see him take such great pleasure in playing his clarinet. I hope that Peter’s story will inspire others living with Alzheimer’s” – Heather Chandler, LMN Wales