Orchestra helps council hit the right notes

Mid Suffolk District Council has partnered with national charity Orchestras Live and a professional orchestra to bring a musical experience to residents.

“Musical Memories” is a programme run by Britten Sinfonia in which musicians work with older people and people living with long-term health conditions, such as dementia and Parkinson’s.

The programme aims to inspire communities and bring people together to improve their wellbeing and increase their sense of agency.

The council has collaborated with Orchestras Live to bring this programme to the district, with open sessions being held in Debenham, Thurston and Stowmarket next week, and closed sessions with care home residents in Eye and Barking.

Split into several stages, the first stage is about exploring people’s existing relationships with music through an initial performance by a harp and flute duo, which will include popular classics, folksongs and iconic tunes from television and radio. This will be followed by conversations over tea and cake.

In January and February, Britten Sinfonia and workshop leader Raphael Clarkson will return to the districts with a range of instruments, working to compose a new piece of music with the help of the participants.

In March, everyone who has taken part will be invited to the John Peel Centre, in Stowmarket, to rehearse and perform the final piece of music for an audience of family, friends and carers.

Tim Weller, Mid Suffolk District Council cabinet member for Environment, Culture and Wellbeing, said: “I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to secure this partnership with a leading professional orchestra in the region and that Britten Sinfonia will be extending their work out across our district.

“Music plays such an important role in almost everyone’s lives, it’s evocative, it’s therapeutic and it brings people together. I hope this project will provide an opportunity for people to experience music, perhaps in a different way, and participate in creating new music as part of the process.”

Stuart Bruce, senior creative producer at Orchestras Live, added: “As co-producer of this project, Orchestras Live is delighted that so many people across Mid Suffolk will have inspirational experiences of live music and contribute to a new piece for performance with Britten Sinfonia.

“This is a shining example of how orchestral music can bring joy and unlock the creativity of older people and it is another important step in our partnership with Mid Suffolk District Council which aims to support the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people in rural communities.”

Upcoming events open to the public:

  • Meeting room at Thurston Lunch Club, The New Green Centre, Thurston. 9.30am to 11am on Tuesday, December 5.
  • Meeting room at Everyone Active, Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, Stowmarket. noon to 1.30pm on Tuesday, December 5.
  • Community Centre, Debenham Sports and Leisure Centre. 3pm to 4.30pm on Tuesday, December 5.

Dates and times for future events will be confirmed at a later date.

Enquiries about attending one of the open events can be made by emailing communities@baberghmidsuffolk.gov.uk.


Picture credit: Britten Sinfonia.

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