DEMENTIA sufferers, their carers and families have come together to record a collection of their favourite songs in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.
The special CD, The Best is Still to Come, was launched at Parliament Buildings yesterday when the choir performed for MLAs in the grand surroundings of the Long Gallery.
Most of those involved in the project are from the Newry, Craigavon and Banbridge areas.
Supported by the Arts Council, the group has had a number of sessions with professional musicians and even penned their own original contribution which has served as the title track of the CD.
The benefits of music and singing have long been recognised by those working with dementia sufferers.
Speaking ahead of yesterday’s Stormont performance, Megan Calvert from Portadown said her husband had made great progress through the project.
“This has been a wonderful experience,” she said. “We have all laughed, cried and we’ve danced together.
“It has done wonders for my husband Jim and had a very calming effect on him, which has then rubbed off on me.”
Bernadine McCrory, director of Alzheimer’s Society in Northern Ireland, described the project as “a wonderful opportunity for people with dementia, carers and volunteers to demonstrate how the arts can enhance their lives” as well as a means of improving their social lives.
“The CD has been part-funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and this collaborative working has crossed the boundaries of expectation for many people,” she said.
And she added: “The choir is evidence of how people with dementia can continue to enjoy being part of a community.”
The Best is Still to Come features an eclectic mix of songs from Ireland and Scotland, ranging from Christian hymns to traditional and modern numbers.
The CD is available for a suggested donation of £8 from all Alzheimer’s Society branches throughout Northern Ireland, and their head office in Belfast, by calling 028 9066 4100.