Choir sings out to help people with dementia

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A ladies barbershop choir will bring a special project to a close with a final show today.

The Soundwaves chorus has spent the past six months touring care homes and groups to share their music to help people with dementia.

The Soundwaves choir in Blackpool during their dementia singing sessions''Picture by Jill Reidy

The Soundwaves choir in Blackpool during their dementia singing sessions''Picture by Jill Reidy

The group was inspired by their former chairman’s experience of the condition, as well as the research showing how music and singing can help those with dementia.

After a visit by Dementia Friends champion Jim O’Donnell they signed up as Dementia Friends, then made a successful grant application for help from LeftCoast.

Now they will celebrate the work so far with a concert at Solaris Centre, where those they have visited and other homes have been invited to see hear their music.

Spokeswoman and choir member Sandra Mangan said: “Soundwaves chatted to several different groups specialising in dementia and they were most encouraging.

“Neurological research has shown that singing imprints itself onto the brain deeper than any other human experience and is one of the only activities that activates, stimulates and uses the entire brain.

“Through their singing, Soundwaves hoped to engage with people who are perhaps feeling isolated and frustrated and give them a pleasurable experience.

“It seemed to work. The original plan was to do one ‘sing out’ a month, but as news of the project spread it proved so popular that the ladies were performing weekly at homes and for clubs in Blackpool and Wyre.”

The LeftCoast funding has paid for instruments which allow the patients to join in with the music while singing along, and Soundwaves chairman Sue Andrew has made sensory tabards which have been donated to the homes and groups they visit for their patients to wear.

The group has also expanded its repertoire and skills, thanks to coaching from Andy Whitfield of More Music, who has also written new arrangements of songs by Buddy Holly and Queen for them.

See Soundwaves in action today at 2pm at the Solaris Centre, New South Promenade, at 2pm.