Rhinegold Photo credit: Paul Cochrane
(l-r) Lise Vandersmissen, Jack Hudson, Joana Praca

Harriet Clifford

Guildhall musicians to bring music to isolated people living with dementia

10:59, 16th November 2020

Musicians from Guildhall School of Music & Drama have partnered with Age UK Camden to deliver a musical befriending service to isolated people living with dementia throughout the winter months of the pandemic. 

The ‘Music Bank’ project will see twelve students, staff, and alumni of Guildhall School matched with twelve Age UK Camden clients. The musicians will play music requested by the clients, as well as get to know them through conversation, all of which will happen over three phone or Zoom calls lasting 30-45 minutes each. 

Beginning this month, the project responds to the increase in chronically lonely older people due to the pandemic. All musicians will receive training from Age UK Camden prior to performing.

Sean Gregory, director of innovation and engagement at Guildhall, said, ‘Conversation and friendship sit at the heart of this important project, a collaboration that brings together an extraordinary programme of musical styles and influences. Technology, innovation and live performance working in perfect harmony!’

Nikki Morris, chief executive of Age UK Camden, said, ‘We are delighted to be involved with this wonderful project and that some of our isolated members living with dementia will benefit from the joys of music and friendship over the challenging months ahead. Isolation can be damaging to both physical and mental health and this is a fantastic way to counter that. A big thank you to those giving generously of their time and talent.’ 

Clients have been asked to list a mix of genres as well as one or two musicians they like as requests, with the genres including reggae and calypso, traditional Scottish music, musical theatre, Krishna low flute music, classical music, and hymns. 

The participants from Guildhall are: John Morcom, Jack Hudson, Caroline Breman, Nicola Demosthenous, Catherine Price, Joana Praca, Lise Vandersmissen, Ann Sloboda, Claire Habbershaw, Helena Ricci, Kirsty McLean, and Fiona-Jane Weston. 


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