Remember to Remember

November 19, 2020

A Welsh market town in the Vale of Glamorgan has come together to record a song about dementia to raise awareness of the condition. Remember to Remember, written and composed by David Parsons in memory of his mother Eileen, is a part of Cowbridge’s Dementia Friendly town initiative.

The project involved dementia friendly music group With Music in Mind and Cowbridge Comprehensive School as well as the town’s Rotarians, with support from the Earl Lane recording studio in Cardiff.

The beautiful song united the community in a positive way. As one member of the choir said: “It’s a really worthwhile project to bring people together and also to impress upon them that if you know somebody with Alzheimer’s it isn’t a really unhappy time, it can be quite happy. And as we all know music is the key to happiness.”

The poignant lyrics begin with these words:

Eileen Parsons

Eileen Parsons

Don’t forget to remember

If one day I can’t recall,

the good times we shared together, I may not remember at all.

Please remember to remember

If my memories should depart,

all those moments that we treasured are locked within my heart.

The song asks listeners to ‘sing the songs of our childhood’, ‘songs that made us happy’ and love songs. It talks of unlocking precious memories such as feeling a soft summer’s breeze and urges everyone to keep the power of music in mind.

Download the full Remember to Remember lyrics.

David Parsons explains: “When I was asked to write the song I wanted it to have a folk sound, and I thought I’d like to write a song that my mother might have sung to me. It’s really a song that’s trying to give people hope. People who hear it say that it describes their experience, too.”

You can view a video of the With Music in Mind choir performing the song and interviews with some of the members below.

Or listen to the song, including the school choir.

David describes the project as very rewarding, especially working with the students as they used it as a starting point for a discussion about dementia. “It was an opportunity to think about what the song is saying, including social and wellbeing aspects of dementia,” he explains.

Music was a large part of David’s childhood and family life and it continued to be the one way he could communicate with his mother during her dementia journey. He recalls: “I would visit her in her care home and play her favourite tunes on the piano, such as ‘Strangers in the Night’.

“Live music is so important. Even when she was unresponsive near the end of her life I sang her some Irish songs from a concert I was preparing for. Her right hand came up – and she was conducting.

“My wife and I, and the doctor, were moved and amazed. I’ll never forget what that said about the power of music.”

Download Remember to Remember on Apple Music or Amazon Music.