Memories of past years became songs for now thanks to a project called ‘Sing Your Life’ at Kenbrook Care Home in Wembley.
Older people’s choir Bolder Voices and three musicians have been working with residents over a series of weeks to take their recollections of their earlier lives and turn them into songs.
We know from our ground-breaking music therapy work the impact that music has on people living with dementia. And while this was not a music therapy session, it certainly engaged the residents and staff at Kenbrook.
Clair Chapwell, who runs Bolder Voices, sat down with residents to take their memories, including those of working and living in London and moving to the city from Ireland. These were then turned into songs which were rehearsed ready for a performance in front of guests, including the Mayor of Brent, Cllr Parvez Ahmed.
Home manager Marian O’Hara said: “We were very fortunate to have Bolder Voices perform a concert at Kenbrook as well as carry out weekly sessions over a six week period with our residents.
“The outcome of these sessions had a great impact on our residents who enjoyed these groups immensely. Having personalised songs written all about them made them feel really special and unique!”
Clair Chapwell, who runs Bolder Voices, said: “Over the weeks, we began to see residents flourishing as songs were created and rehearsed. Mornings we listened to residents’ stories, afternoons we sang. During the week, musician Bob and I wrote songs from the stories we heard, culminating in six original songs for the performance.”
Sing Your Life was a partnership between Bolder Voices and Capital Age Arts. It was funded by the Arts Council and Greater London Authority.