Guest blog from Helen Hunter, Red Cafe Mumbles.
In 2014 8 people in Swansea met for the first time as the Musical Memories Choir. In just six years we have grown to a family of 150 singers across two locations in the city.
We are a choir with a purpose; born out of a wish to enable people living with dementia and their carers to come together and experience the many benefits of singing and sharing friendships with others who walk a similar path as themselves.
We have seen, over the past six years, so many fantastic people join the choir and enjoy performing many times in public.
We truly embody the idea, which we hope to portray, that there is life to be lived with dementia. Being part of the choir brings with it a sense of belonging and so much joy and laughter!
Every week we sing through songs that are the soundtrack to our lives, from the songs our mother might have sung to us, songs from our youth, love songs we courted to, and rousing classics from all the greats.
We are incredibly lucky to be led each week by soprano Ros Evans and when we were first faced with the sad reality that we were not going to be able to continue meeting as choir she sprung into action and started filming daily virtual choir sessions from home.
Instead of only meeting once a week our members can now sing everyday Monday to Friday! We have also produced a CD and songbook for those who cannot get access to the online sessions.
The result of this is that our choir has expanded its reach considerably. Thanks to the powers of the internet we now have singers from across the UK and beyond.
Covid 19 has brought with it so many challenges and losses but the element of connection is helping us through it all.
Bringing the colour and joy of Musical Memories Choir into so many households has been up lifting.
It is my hope that, as Vera Lynne sang, we can indeed meet again but in the meantime singing with Ros from my kitchen is the next best thing!