30th Nov, 2020

Warwick choir and tv star Oz Clarke drop into retirement village to serenade residents

Catherine Thompson 26th Sep, 2020 Updated: 28th Sep, 2020

TRAVELLING musicians dropped into a Warwick retirement village to treat residents to a mini performance.

Austin Heath was the last stop for Warwick choir Armonico Consort and TV personality Oz Clarke, embarked on a 200-mile charity bike ride from Bournemouth to Coventry.

The troupe serenaded residents with classical music and songs such as ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’, bringing cheer to people who have been shielding.

The tour aimed to raise awareness of the benefits of music therapy for older people and those living with dementia. It also launches the choir’s partnership with The Alzheimer’s Society, to deliver specialist music and singing therapy projects to support people with the illness.

Armonico Consort, which is also a music education charity, also holds a regular choir for the residents which continued virtually during lockdown and, more recently, outdoors.

Music has been scientifically-proven to offer mental health and wellbeing benefits for older people, helping to stimulate memory and alleviate anxiety in those with dementia.

Armonico’s artistic director Christopher Monks said: “It was wonderful to end such a successful tour with a mini-performance for our friends at Austin Heath. We have organised a choir there for many months and know first-hand of the value and benefits of music and singing to people living independently in a community such as Austin Heath.

“Earlier in the tour, we visited Elm Grove care home in Cirencester, which specialises in dementia care.

“What took us all by surprise was addressing our audience we got little reaction before we began but, by the time we had finished performing, they were cheering, joining in, singing, playing instruments; the room was electric and I have never in my life experienced music having such an effect on the human mind.

“Afterwards, we were told that the residents would not remember our visit by tomorrow, but they would remember that today was a happy day, that they experienced a happy emotion, and that has made the entire bike ride worthwhile.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/bike2020 for more details and to donate to the cause.

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