SongDivision will partner with UK-based Songhaven to create an Anthem in support of BBC Music Day written by those living with dementia.
Music is a powerful artform with the ability to reach us deeply and express the world beyond face value — often allowing us to see things more clearly than we might otherwise in daily life. Study after study have proven music to be exceptional at stimulating memory, inspiring happiness, and strengthening social bonds. SongDivision Client Exec and advocate for inclusivity in professional music-making, Vivien Conacher, celebrates these unique qualities of music while helping those living with dementia.
In 2017, Vivien created Songhaven, offering a series of dementia-friendly concerts across the UK. An accomplished mezzo-soprano, Vivien saw an opportunity to use music beyond just entertainment — to connect people, to remind them, and to help them find a sense of place in society.
As she explains, “For people living with dementia, attending a night-time music event with a long running time at a busy venue can be a real challenge, or out of the question entirely. We provide an environment where everyone is free to be themselves, and where audience members are encouraged to respond to the music as they choose, free of judgement.”
Concerts include a singalong segment where audience members are encouraged to sing popular songs with renowned performers. Additionally, song requests are noted and incorporated into future shows. The goal is to create an inclusive atmosphere where all feel welcome.
And, Songhaven is making a real difference in the lives of attendees. A caregiver of regular attendee recently said, “[her] condition has improved, in the sense that not only does she recall, but also asks me when the next concert is taking place. We go over the songs, we sing together and she feels so happy that she has become part of Songhaven.”
Vivien Conacher performs ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ at a dementia-friendly concert.
Dementia affects around 50 million people worldwide [source: World Health Organization] and is a key source of inspiration for BBC Music Day — an annual UK event celebrating the power of music to change lives, with thousands of broadcasts taking place via television, radio, and online.
SongDivision will be partnering with Songhaven over the next two months to compose an original Anthem in support of BBC Music Day, and lyrics will be written by people living with dementia. The anthem will be performed in a live audience singalong on Thursday, September 26th as part of Songhaven’s BBC Music Day dementia-friendly concert — details here.
It is our goal to bring about greater awareness of dementia, and to use music to improve the lives of those living with it.
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