Building on our highly successful Essex Folk pilot project with care homes in north Essex, Sinfonia Viva collaborated with older people, care staff and local communities, this time in Brentwood. During the autumn 2017, an artistic team led by Sam Glazer worked with four groups of participants to create songs celebrating aspects of their lives past and present. The separate groups came together to perform their songs alongside the orchestra in a public performance at Bishops Hill Adult Community Learning Centre in Brentwood, which took place on Monday 23 October. The new songs will become part of a permanent heritage resource for Essex.
“Normally, if I sort of moved around the home, you go past people and you just smile. But, now we stop and say hello. We have a little chat. Yes, it has improved things.”
A strand of academic evaluation by Anglia Ruskin University was embedded in the project, supported by a research grant from Arts Council England, and research focused on the benefits of the arts in developing relationships between older people, care workers and their surrounding communities. An interim sharing event took place on Monday 5 March 2018, where Partnership Manager Stuart Bruce gave a presentation on the work in Brentwood, alongside Andrew Nesbitt from Sinfonia Viva, project leader Sam Glazer and Leanne Cole, Manager at one of the participating care homes.
“The workshops in the care homes were delivered with great skill by Sam and the team, with great compassion, sensitivity and inclusiveness which resulted in some truly inspiring and moving workshops. The resulting performance was a great celebration and a really uplifting experience.”
Andrew Ward, Essex County Cultural Development
See below for a selection of photos and a video including music composed as part of the project.
“Each and every one of the 17 residents that I bought to the performance benefited from being involved and I think that it is a huge testament to the power of music for those with dementia as 99% of our residents that came along yesterday suffer from this condition and they were all captivated and attentive when often they would often be fidgety and agitated in some cases.”
Feedback from participating care home
Produced through the partnership between Orchestras Live and Essex County Cultural Development, the orchestral project is part of the wider Creative Journeys programme celebrating the creative contribution of older people in society, and which includes parallel projects by Green Candle Dance and Age Exchange.