What do we mean by a “dementia-friendly” concert series?

Well, for people living with dementia, 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.

London-based mezzo-soprano Vivien Conacher launched Songhaven in early 2017 to give people with dementia (and their carers and companions) the dignity of high-calibre professional concerts, in an atmosphere of kindness. At Songhaven, every effort is made to ensure that audience members feel comfortable, understood, and valued. 

Everyone is free to be themselves at a Songhaven concert and we pride ourselves on our warm and relaxed atmosphere. Audience members are encouraged to respond to the music as they choose – singing along and moving to the music are welcomed and never viewed as disruptions.

Songhaven concerts happen once a month on a Saturday afternoon, and are a manageable 40-minutes in length. Each concert features a trio of special guest musicians who perform an entertaining programme which always includes some familiar repertoire from stage and screen.

All our 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 experience for audiences and performers alike! A relaxed and social afternoon tea then provides a wonderful opportunity for performers and audience members to mingle, and chat about their favourite music. We also take note of any song requests which will usually end up in another concert programme in the future.

Songhaven has gained a larger and devoted following, with audience members coming back time and time again for our concert experiences. Come see for yourself what makes our events so special! Join our mailing list to receive concert announcements and booking information.

Audience feedback:

“It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a concert so much”

“I loved every minute of it.”

“Fabulous quality… vivacious… such beautiful voices”

“What I like so much is the chance to hear superb musicians. What a treat to hear excerpts from opera!”

“It was all very welcoming, everything explained in the introductions. Lots of favourites”

“Brilliant – so friendly and the beauty of the voices and the selection.” 

“I loved the operatic bits. I don’t get to go as much as I’d like to so this was perfect for me.”

“Beautiful and very professional”

“Beautiful and very inclusive, especially when they got everyone singing.”

“Singing is wonderful- even when the short-term memories are gone, you can still remember words from 40 years ago!”

“People come alive here… it’s a privilege”

“It made me smile and cry, very emotional. Because it was a small space and we were so close, it created a wonderful atmosphere.” 

“The way they performed was superb.”

“impeccable standard of performance in an atmosphere of relaxed generosity, inclusivity and love.”
“My partner responds to music with his whole body and soul, so its wonderful to be in a space where his responses are welcomed and understood as appreciation and expressions of joy.”
[the event] “leaves us buzzing, feeling part of a community, and not isolated with the exhausting complexity of the impact of Alzheimer’s on us as individuals and as a family”