Vicky McClure’s Our Dementia choir performs to launch Power of Music report

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Music has healing powers, says Vicky McClure (Alzheimer’s Society/PA) (PA Media)
Music has healing powers, says Vicky McClure (Alzheimer’s Society/PA) (PA Media)

Vicky McClure’s Our Dementia Choir has performed in London to highlight a report which said music can play a “powerful” role in improving the lives of dementia patients.

The choir sang three songs – including I’m A Believer and Stand By Me – at Universal Music UK in King’s Cross to celebrate the Power of Music report which looks at how music can support staff, create savings and generally improve healthcare services.

In 2019, actress McClure presented a BBC One documentary called Our Dementia Choir, exploring how music can help people living with some forms of the condition.

We should never underestimate the transformative and healing power of music

Vicky McClure

In the show, which earned a Bafta TV nomination, she spoke of seeing dementia first-hand after caring for her grandmother Iris, who died in 2015.

The Bafta-award winning actress, who starred in Trigger Point and Line Of Duty, said music has “healing powers” for dementia patients.

She said: “We should never underestimate the transformative and healing power of music.

“Music can uplift people living with dementia, change their mood and bring them joy.

“This is the reason why I started Our Dementia Choir and why it remains so close to my heart.

“We were all delighted to be invited to perform at the launch and not only meet so many people that think in the way we do, but who are also committed to ensuring music is used to benefit people with dementia in the future.”

At the event on Wednesday, which was also attended by Music for Dementia ambassador Lauren Laverne, The Utley Foundation revealed it was making a £1 million donation to kickstart funding for grassroots activity around music for dementia.

(UK Music/Music for Dementia/PA)
(UK Music/Music for Dementia/PA)

Laverne said: “This was a fantastic evening of collaboration and commitment to elevating music – with all its therapeutic benefits – to improve health and wellbeing in society.

“The great thing with this report is that it’s just the beginning and part of a long-term plan of what we can achieve by working together.”

The chairman of Universal Music UK David Joseph also previewed Music Can at the event, an online resource which serves as a music and dementia information hub.

Music for Dementia campaign director Grace Meadows said: “This evening was a demonstration of what can happen when we work together to harness the power of music.

“The report offers practical and achievable recommendations, and it is testament to the vision of the report that we are already seeing tangible and meaningful investment being made in this space.”

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “This event demonstrated what a huge appetite there is to take this agenda forward.

“Across the music industry, the political landscape and the health and care system, we all want to harness the power of music to boost our health and wellbeing.

“This report can and should be the start of a revolution in how we use music to provide care and improve lives across the country. Now we need to work together to make that a reality.”

The Power of Music report, launched on Wednesday at the Universal Music UK headquarters, recommends the UK appoint a commissioner to “champion and co-ordinate” projects including the setting up of a cross-government taskforce.

The published document follows a one-year study by UK Music, which represents the collective interests of the sector, and Music for Dementia, the health and music campaign.

Among those consulted were charities, the Government and the health and social care sectors, as well as musicians, music therapists, people living with dementia and their carers.

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