Orchestra plays concert for dementia audience

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra Players shared a varied programme of music, from Handel to Procol Harum, in an exclusive concert for people with dementia and their families.

The quartet of players performed for a 45-strong audience at Hanover Hall recently in a collaborative project for the orchestra and Alzheimers Otago.

The aim of the project was to encourage and support people with dementia to actively take part in their community by creating a dementia-friendly space and event.

Alzheimers Otago manager Liz Harburg said music was well-known as a therapy for people with dementia.

"Not only is it calming, music also helps to reignite memories and improve mood," she said.

"We are thrilled to partner with Dunedin Symphony Orchestra on this performance project as it allows people with dementia and their loved ones to take part in an everyday activity, like enjoying orchestral music, but in an environment where they feel safe and where everyone around them is in the same situation."

She pointed out that about 70,000 people in New Zealand live with dementia, and this number is expected to rise to 170,000 by 2050.

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra general manager Philippa Harris, said the orchestra was thrilled to work with Alzheimers Otago.

"In a year which has been very challenging for many, the DSO was absolutely delighted to be able to take part in this project which provided so much happiness," she said.

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