Inspiration gained from watching the BBC’s Our Dementia Choir has prompted one lady to establish a local choir for people living with dementia.
Ruth Bowe, the founder and Chair of Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire has started Dementia Sings Out under the umbrella of the Community Choir.
The Gospel Choir was formed seven years ago as a non-profit-making venture to encourage people of all ages and abilities to meet on a weekly basis to sing uplifting and inspirational songs. Since then, membership has increased from a handful of people to over 100 and the choir now regularly performs concerts to help raise funds for local churches and charities, as well as performing at larger venues such as The Castle Theatre in Wellingborough and Northampton’s Royal and Derngate Theatre.
The choir is fortunate to have highly-respected Gareth Fuller as its Musical Director, and in addition to his other responsibilities, Gareth has kindly agreed to lead this new Dementia Choir supported by other members of the Wellingborough Gospel Community Choir.
“…continued interaction and stimulation with others can have a positive effect on well-being”
Dementia touches so many people and for those living with the condition, continued interaction and stimulation with others can have a positive effect on well-being. Open to anyone living with dementia, these free choir sessions are held every Thursday morning for an hour of lively and interactive singing followed by refreshments and socialising amongst all the participants, carers and Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir members. Importantly, as carers are encouraged to participate, they also have been left with smiles on their faces; it is this that the choir hopes to continue to achieve through singing. Ruth’s vision has, in its first three weeks, proven to be unbelievably successful.
The hope is that by word of mouth, advertising and awareness raised via social media, this new choir will attract even more people who live with dementia on a daily basis.
An amazing initiative
Admiral Nurse Dave Bell said: ‘This choir shows amazing initiative and taps into the growing evidence around the benefits of music therapy for people with dementia.
‘Music can be a powerful way to engage with people with dementia. When other avenues of communication have been lost, music can foster connections amongst a family facing the condition and can help the person with dementia express feelings and ideas, such as through a smile or even a dance.’
For more information, to become involved directly or to become a sponsor to secure the choir’s longer-term development (currently there is only financing for three months) visit Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir on Facebook or email DementiaSingsOut@gmail.com. The contact may also prove useful to anyone else who has set up or is thinking of setting up a similar venture and wishes to share ideas or seek advice.
Music therapy and dementia
Music can trigger emotions, feelings and memories in people particularly when there is a personal connection to their past experiences