Northern Chamber Orchestra plays outdoor concerts for care home residents

Over the next few weeks care homes across the North West will welcome small ensembles of Northern Chamber Orchestra musicians who will perform socially distanced concerts in the grounds.

Residents will enjoy concerts featuring music performed by a string quartet led by violinist Louise Latham, a wind quartet led by bassoonist Rachel Whibley, and a brass trio led by horn player Jenny Cox. The repertoire will include recognisable pieces such as Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Bach’s Air on a G String along with songs for the residents to sing along to, including the White Cliffs of Dover and Singin’ in the Rain.

The orchestra’s Mind Music project explores the effects of live music on people living with dementia and was developed to raise awareness of dementia. The project work ranges from high-profile fund-raising concerts to working in care homes as part of therapy, while generating crucial data for research into how music can improve and repair cognitive functions.  Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the care home concerts have not been possible until now.

The Northern Chamber Orchestra’s Education Coordinator, Lawrence Dinh, said: “It’s been wonderful to have been able to put on these concerts and to have such a positive response to the project. It’s clear that art and entertainment have never been more important at a time like this. Many of the homes I’ve spoken to have felt the need for music given how significant a role it plays in their residents’ lives, and they have been delighted to welcome the Northern Chamber Orchestra musicians for these outdoor concerts and welcome music back.”

There is a great deal of evidence to show that music can reignite neural pathways that have deteriorated, and that it helps people living with dementia to communicate with loved ones and carers without words and through memory and shared experiences. At this time of uncertainty and confusion, the Northern Chamber Orchestra hopes to provide an emotional lifeline for people who may have been isolated from loved ones through music and song.

The concerts are supported by Stockport software company CDL who have also nominated the care homes, often where a relative of a staff member has resided.