In the meantime, we are very proud to present Songhaven at Home – our new collection of professional 30 minute concert films (with printable programmes) – free and online so that you can continue to experience the joy of our professional concerts at home.
We send new Songhaven at Home concert films every month via email to all our subscribers. Click HERE to sign up to our newsletters, and keep an eye on your inbox (and your junk mail folder just in case!)
WHAT IS SONGHAVEN ALL ABOUT?
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, Songhaven organises over 80 live dementia-friendly events throughout the year – all featuring professional classically-trained artists. These 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;
79% of surveyed Songhaven audience members told us they had met and got to know new people by attending our events, and 100% of surveyed audience members felt that attending Songhaven concerts improves their well-being. Read feedback from audience members and artists about their first-hand Songhaven experiences on our Testimonials page
OUR CORE VALUES:
- Professional Excellence – in the calibre of musicians we work with, the running of our events on the day, and the preparation put into each concert programme.
- Inclusion – proactively creating spaces where people at risk of exclusion and social isolation (including people living with dementia, older people, and carers) can feel welcomed on a regular basis into a caring community.
- Joy – fostered through quality music-making, a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and our social post-concert afternoon teas.
- Connection – artists are encouraged to mingle and interact with the audience during the performance, as well as during afternoon tea, volunteers of all ages are on hand to engage with attendees throughout the event. Connection is very much a two-way street, we value the feedback and music requests made by our attendees and want to learn from them, and get to know them as individuals.
- 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!
Songhaven was founded in early 2017 by London-based mezzo soprano Vivien Conacher and is a registered Community Interest Company.
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.
Is Songhaven a registered charity?
Songhaven is not a registered charity – we are a Community Interest Company (CIC) which is a special type of limited company which exists to benefit the community. CIC’s are a type of social enterprise, where any profit made is put back into achieving social objectives in the community.
Community Interest Companies can receive donations, but these donations are not tax-deductible (in the same way they would be for a charity).
If you would like to instead make a tax-deductible donation, this may be done through our concert venues, both of which have registered charities.
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.
Why do I need to book to attend a concert?
Booking is essential so we can prepare the right amount of printed concert programmes and food for the afternoon tea. We want to minimise wastage as much as possible, and avoid any last minute scrambles if lots of people show up unexpected.
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 will close at 5:00pm the night before the concert, but we do our best to keep some spaces 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.
I would like to perform or volunteer at a Songhaven event – how can I get in touch?
Volunteers can sign up to our Volunteer email list here
We currently have a full rota of singers and pianists, but we would still love to hear from you – please email us via firstname.lastname@example.org.