During the summer of 2014 I was approached by Caoimhe Conlon from MusicAlive with regards to my involvement in the Fuse Arts and Health Programme around Cork City and County. A Dementia Choir had been started at Oaklodge Nursing Home and a replacement was needed for a 6 week period whilst their Musical Director, Angela Ryan was away. I was delighted to have this opportunity come my way as I was currently studying Singing and Dementia as part of my MA in Community Music.
Working closely with this group was an absolute pleasure as well as an eye opener! Regular contact enabled me a wider perspective on how the effects of Dementia affects individuals and differs from week to week. In addition to the singing, I introduced simple hand held percussion instruments and encouraged rhythm exploration. There was quite some fun playing with the claves on the chairs! I also added movements to accompany some of the songs, encouraging more awareness in the inclusion of physical exercise.
The six weeks concluded with a participatory performance at the Nursing Homes’ ‘Fun Day’.