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July 10, 2011

Dementia choir project hailed great success

Wales Online:

A unique partnership between Welsh National Opera and people with dementia will culminate tonight with a one-off performance. For the last three months a group of more than 40 people with dementia from South Wales have been working with the opera company. Carers and family members have spoken of how their loved ones “have come back to life” as a result of the partnership.

The Alzheimer’s Awareness group will tonight perform self-penned songs inspired by the Puccini opera Turandot at a concert in Cardiff.vThe project, in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Society in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, follows on from a successful pilot in the run-up to Christmas last year. There the group took part in five singing workshops, culminating in a performance at a Christmas carol concert.

The songwriting and performance sessions have given people with dementia an opportunity to express themselves and take part in memory activities – song and music are known to be easier to recall than other memories.

Kate Woolveridge, the WNO’s choral leader, said: “As dementia progresses some people can experience difficulties with communication but the brain works in such a way that if they knew songs before they are able to sing them now.

Dr Rosie Tope, whose partner has dementia, is evaluating the project for the Alzheimer’s Society and WNO. “It’s been an absolute joy to see the people on this project who have difficulty maintaining a conversation, recalling the words of songs they have known and loved.

“Familiarity with the music and the words is also giving them the confidence to reach out physically to those they love, for example when they are singing or listening to the music, they are holding hands and putting their arms around each other, some have even taken to dancing together again. Read more.

Thanks to Choralnet.

Posted by acapnews at July 10, 2011 11:34 PM


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