Songhaven was founded in early 2017 by operatic mezzo-soprano and professional event producer Vivien Conacher. Vivien wanted to provide a space where people living with dementia (including carers and companions) could come together and enjoy afternoon concerts by professional musicians in a joyous and welcoming atmosphere. She also wanted to give classically-trained artists paid performance opportunities that were relaxed, fun, and that would also help them to expand their skills and repertoire.
The monthly Songhaven Concert Series was first launched in Bloomsbury and quickly gained a large and loyal audience following in the London Borough of Camden and beyond. A second monthly concert series was launched in 2018 at St Paul’s Knightsbridge and also grew steadily in popularity.
Following numerous requests to bring the Songhaven concert experience to care homes and, soprano Nazan Fikret joined the team in 2019 to launch and facilitate the Songhaven Care Concerts scheme, which received rave reviews from care home staff and residents alike.
The Covid-19 pandemic put a pause on live concerts and care home performance visits, but with the help of a grant from Camden Giving, Songhaven was able to continue their work digitally through the launch of Songhaven at Home.
Songhaven at Home is a free online archive of 30 minute concert films using footage recorded at Songhaven’s live concert events. The films have received over 7,000 views, and have been a valuable resource for at-home carers, care home workers, and hospital staff to be able to bring great concert experiences to people living with dementia during the pandemic.
In 2021, we will continue to offer Songhaven at Home and live-streamed concert events. We are also returning to in-person events and care home visits in a gradual way, starting with outdoor concerts during the Summer months.
To receive our event announcements & Songhaven at Home films, please subscribe to our email newsletter HERE.
OUR CORE VALUES
- Professional Excellence – in the calibre of musicians we work with, the preparation put into each concert programme, the running of our events on the day, and the audio/visual quality of our digital offerings.
- Inclusion – proactively creating spaces where people at risk of exclusion and social isolation (including people living with dementia, older people, and carers) feel welcomed on a regular basis into a caring community.
- Joy – fostered through quality music-making, a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and presentation style, and our social post-concert afternoon teas.
- Connection – artists are encouraged to mingle and interact with the audience during live performances, as well as during the post-concert afternoon tea, volunteers of all ages are on hand to engage with attendees throughout the event, and to seek feedback and music requests.
- Participation – Songhaven’s live events (including live-streamed concerts) always include interactive moments – such as singalongs, movement, dancing, and clapping – active participation is encouraged throughout the concert!
- Dignity & Respect – our artists, volunteers, and audience members are treated with respect and dignity, and viewed as equals. Every Songhaven event is designed to show every person involved that they are valued, and to embody our belief that everyone deserves the best possible experience at Songhaven!