We increasingly find that our audiences respond to a themed concert. With that in mind, we have developed concerts to connect with anniversaries of major events such as Bless ‘em All (the First World War Armistice, 2018) Magna Carta (800th anniversary of signing, 2015), Chariots of Fire (The London Olympics, 2012), Vivat Regina (Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, 2012), A Georgian Odyssey and Enlightened Princesses: Celebrating Women of Influence 2017) and In an English Country Garden (Tercentenary of Capability Brown 2016).
Other themes refer to the content of the concert, e.g., Moonlight and Roses (Romantic Musical Memories), We’ll Gather Lilacs (Springtime) the Fabulous Fifties (Hollywood favourites), seasons and festivals – Winter Wonderland (Christmas songs), Easter Parade. On request, we occasionally compile a special programme for an individual’s birthday.
Each theme is carefully researched for relevant music, colourful costumes and interesting information/anecdotes that provide context and continuity. Where we have repeat visits to the same venue we would normally provide different programmes.
Apart from our standard repertoire of Anglo-American musicals and operetta, we endeavor to recognise the cultural diversity present in the older population of Greater London. Hence we often include medleys catering specifically to French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, Hebrew, West Indian and even Hindi groups. We also seek as far as possible to cater for particular disabilities, for example featuring bright red costumes for a partially sighted audience.
Our Treasurer, Dr Glenn Wilson, is a world-recognised psychologist who has reviewed the scientific literature with respect to the benefits of music and performing arts to patients of various types. Of particular relevance is the recent finding of a “nostalgia hub” in the right, orbitofrontal brain, representing an intersect of the brain mechanisms underlying personal memory, familiar music and positive emotion. This has been shown to be the very last part of the brain to atrophy in dementia patients. We believe our concerts have power to harness this enduring source of awareness and reward – revitalising them, restoring a sense of familiarity and offering great solace to a distressed and often neglected group, which is increasing numerically in today’s world.