Songhaven is committed to bringing authentic and meaningful human connection to people living with dementia through the power of professional music performances.
We believe people living with dementia (including carers and companions) deserve the dignity of high-quality music in a relaxed, inclusive, and joyous atmosphere.
To achieve our mission, we organise approximately 80 dementia-friendly events throughout the year – all featuring professional classically-trained artists. These events include:
- The free public Songhaven Concert Series in London, held monthly in both Bloomsbury and Knightsbridge;
- Our Songhaven Care Concerts scheme, with solo performance visits to care homes and community centres;
- One-off special events and group singing sessions in collaboration with opera companies, community centres and arts organisations.
Songhaven was founded in early 2017 by London-based mezzo soprano Vivien Conacher and is a registered Community Interest Company (not-for-profit social enterprise).
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What makes a Songhaven concert “dementia-friendly”?
People living with dementia and family carers have told us about that attending a night-time music event with a long running time at a busy venue can be a real challenge… or out of the question entirely.
As a result, they miss out on the enjoyment of professional music events (as well as the proven health and well-being benefits that come with arts engagement and social interaction). We listened carefully to their experiences, and put their needs at the centre of our Songhaven concert model.
Songhaven concerts take place on a Saturday afternoon and feature high-quality music-making from three classically-trained artists in a relaxed atmosphere of kindness. The manageable 45 minute programme always includes operatic arias and duets, classical tunes, as well as familiar repertoire from stage and screen.
Our concerts are overseen by a professional event producer ensuring for a smooth-running event with a consistently relaxed and easy atmosphere. Attendees are welcomed warmly by our experienced team of volunteers – including care professionals and people with backgrounds in social work. Every effort is made to ensure that audience members feel comfortable, understood, and valued.
Songhaven artists address the audience in a friendly and casual way, clearly introducing each piece of music they perform, and encouraging attendees to respond to the music as they choose. Singing along and moving to the music are warmly welcomed and never viewed as disruptions.
All Songhaven concerts finish with a singalong item, where audience members can join in with the professional artists to sing a well-known song together (always an uplifting and joyous experience!) A relaxed and social afternoon tea follows, providing an opportunity for performers and audience members to mingle, and chat about their favourite music. We also take note of any song requests to include in our future concert programmes.
What is the running time of a Songhaven concert?
Songhaven concerts start at 3:00pm, go for 45 minutes and are followed by afternoon tea until 4:45pm.
If arranging transport, we recommend arriving at 2:45pm (15 minutes before the 3pm concert start time) and then departure before 5:00pm, when we close the venue to the public.
How often are the free public Songhaven concerts?
Songhaven’s concert series happens once a month on a Saturday afternoon at both Lumen URC in Bloomsbury and St Paul’s Knightsbridge. Please join our mailing list if you’d like to receive concert announcements and booking information via our email newsletter.
I do not have a diagnosis of dementia, am I still allowed to attend?
Songhaven concerts are dementia-friendly but not “dementia exclusive”. We warmly welcome everyone to our events, as long as they will support the atmosphere of kindness and understanding we create for our audience members who do show symptoms of dementias. Whilst children are welcome especially if attending as part of a family with a relative living with dementia, we ask that people understand that the repertoire and style of the concerts are tailored towards an older audience. We can gladly recommend some other relaxed music events that would perhaps be more appropriate for mums and bubs or groups of children.
Are wheelchair users able to attend?
Yes, please let us know at the time of booking how many wheelchair spaces are required.
Can you look after my family member or can you arrange transport to/from the concert for them?
Songhaven is a public concert series and whilst our volunteers will actively help to make attendees comfortable, we cannot take responsibility for any one audience member or make individual transport arrangements. Please ensure that any person living with dementia is brought along by a companion, family member or carer to provide this extra support.
Where are the venues and how can I get there?
Please see our “Venues” page on this website for further details including parking and transport.
How can I be reminded about the upcoming concerts?
Join our mailing list to receive concert announcements and booking information via our email newsletter. You can also see our listing in the Camden Magazine, in Resonate Arts online listings, or you can speak to us in person at one of our concerts about being sent a hard copy postcard reminder in the mail.
How can I book to attend a concert?
Booking can be made via phone, email, or online through eventbrite.
Please see the “upcoming events” page for further details.
Booking is essential so we can prepare the right amount of printed concert programmes and food for the afternoon tea. Booking will close at 5:00pm the night before the concert, but we do have some room for walk-ups on the day if you miss this.
Can I book Songhaven to perform at my care home/ community centre/ venue?
Yes – we love to bring our amazing Songhaven artists to other spaces. Please see the Care Concerts page for further information.
I would like to perform or volunteer at a Songhaven event – how can I get in touch?
We would love to hear from you – please email us via email@example.com
Songhaven Community Interest Company 11317064