Coventry University and Orchestra of The Swan to use City of Culture year to help people with dementia.
Coventry University is joining forces with The Orchestra of the Swan to bring classical music to the city and use music to aid people with dementia.
The Orchestra of the Swan is a British chamber orchestra and will be the university and city’s orchestra-in-residence for UK City of Culture year.
During the year the orchestra will be playing a series of concerts at the newly restored Drapers’ Hall and a grand finale concert in the middle of 2022 in the iconic Coventry Cathedral.
However, it won’t just be concerts on the bill as the orchestra will train Coventry University students in music therapy for people with dementia.
Once trained the students will then volunteer with the orchestra’s client care homes.
This is part of a substantial joint outreach project that the university and orchestra hope will help the people of the area who live with dementia.
Dr Geoff Willcocks, Coventry University’s Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage, said: ‘We have many great musical groups in Coventry, but we really lack a professional orchestra. In a small way, for the City of Culture year, Coventry University is filling that gap, and we are thrilled to be working with our long-term partners The Orchestra of the Swan to make this happen.
‘Music is one of the most powerful ways in which we can connect with our memories and our past. The dementia music therapy that our students will be undertaking over the next year will help many people who live with dementia. I hope that this will be the start of a legacy program that sees our students helping older generations live better and more fulfilled lives.’
The Orchestra of the Swan is based at the Stratford Play House in Stratford-upon-Avon and has a history of helping people through outreach work.
Debbie Jagla, Managing Director, Orchestra of the Swan, said: ‘Since 2014, The Swan has delivered hundreds of workshops in care homes, dementia and wellbeing cafés benefitting over 10,000 people living with dementia in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Birmingham. The benefits are extensive, with improvement in cognition including memory and attention, whilst reducing agitation, anxiety and depression. We are thrilled to be working with Coventry University students to pass on our knowledge and open up more opportunities for students to engage with the Warwickshire community. Having the chance to perform regularly in the newly refurbished Drapers’ Hall is icing on the cake, and we look forward to sharing our cross-genre approach with the Coventry community.’
The concerts will showcase compositions by Coventry University staff and students, who will be working alongside the orchestra during rehearsals and performing their own concert with the orchestra early in 2022.
The first three concerts are: