Preparations to mark His Majesty the King’s coronation are well underway for a special celebration at Belong Morris Feinmann’s Didsbury home.
Elderly people residing at Belong Morris Feinmann care village are busy rehearsing for their performance of a lifetime – with a little help from Manchester choir master extraordinaire, Dan McDwyer.
Newly formed last month, The Tomforte Community Choir meets weekly to practise their harmonies ahead of the royal event on 6th May which will see the ensemble, many of whom are living with dementia, perform for fellow residents, family, and friends as part of the coronation festivities programme.
The dementia specialist enlisted the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) alumnus after being inspired by his work with Ariana Grande, Emeli Sandé, and Katherine Jenkins, along with musical direction of thriving community projects focusing on singing for mental health and wellbeing: Manchester Proud Chorus, Altrincham Garrick Show Choir, and The Choir Project – Northenden Choir.
Angela Luckett, Religious and Cultural Coordinator at Belong Morris Feinmann, shares more: “I think our customers are the most engaged I’ve ever seen. Many may not recall the previous week’s rehearsal but
when they come, everything just clicks; they remember what we’re doing, the words and the melodies. Thanks to our new best friend, Dan, dementia leaves the room for an hour – it’s remarkable.”
Dan McDwyer, Musical Director of The Tomforte Community Choir, explains: “This goes further than a sing-along: we’re creating a choir who are performers. By using less-familiar songs, our singers have really got to work hard and actively use their brains to learn new melodies to make a beautiful sound, rather than simply repeating songs they already know.”