The project that has taken over Kate's life
On this chilly evening, allow me to warm you up, inside at least, by introducing you to Kate, 53. She's a professional opera singer who I met at a talk about dementia (hence the rather horrible background for this pic). I know that doesn't sound all that cheery, but wait 'till you read what she does. I guarantee it'll give you a warm glow.
"I’d sung for many years for two charities, going into care homes and hospitals, so I’d seen what music can do for people in those situations.
I set up the Forget-Me-Not Chorus following a ten week project with the Alzheimers Society and Welsh National Opera, who I work for. We wanted to see if we could make a choir for people with dementia and their families, and it was a fantastic experience. There was so much joy in the room, we couldn’t let it go. We had a bit of money for a year, and then when it ran out we formed our own charity.
It's my passion. I never stop thinking about it
The Chorus has been going for seven years now. There are five choirs, I run four of them, as well as still being a professional opera singer for WNO, doing special needs teaching and teaching singing at the Welsh College of Music and Drama. So it’s a busy life. But it’s my passion. It’s taken over my life. I never stop thinking about it.
We’ve got 180 singers who come along every week and I could tell you so many stories of how people have said it’s changed their lives. Because if you’re in the midst of that difficult time - either experiencing dementia or caring for someone who does - what do you do when you get that diagnosis? Actually, what you do is come and have a sing."
Find out more about the wonderful Forget-Me-Not Chorus on their website www.forgetmenotchorus.com
If you know of any other inspiring dementia support projects or work, especially if you're involved, do let me know about them