Turtle Song takes shape in Wolverhampton

1st March 2013

People with dementia are tuning up for their moment in the spotlight as they work with English Touring Opera to put on a musical showcase at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre.

They are penning their own songs to take part in Turtle Song, a project also involving WAVE – the museums, galleries and archives of Wolverhampton – and Wolverhampton City Council’s older people’s service.

Working with a writer, composer and musicians from ETO and taking their inspiration from pieces of art from WAVE’s collection, up to 30 people with dementia are busy writing their lyrics and music which will be performed before a specially-invited audience of family and friends at the Grand Theatre in April.

The arts, and particularly music, can have a profound effect on people with dementia, benefitting their health and well-being in many ways including helping to delay the progress of the disease.

Thanh Sinden, WAVE’s Arts and Social Care Coordinator, said: “Through our Arts and Social Care programme we’re seen that engaging people with the arts really transforms the lives of people with dementia – and this project is proving to be no different.

“We’ve held two writing sessions so far and those who have taken part are doing really well – they are getting fully involved and contributing to the composition of the songs.

“We’ve almost finished the first couple of songs, one which has been inspired by keys from our collection and the other inspired by masks from Africa and the Pacific Islands, and we’ll be working on more over the coming weeks.”

The collaboration continues over the coming weeks with regular writing sessions at the Molineux Hotel, and the final piece is due to be premiered at the Grand Theatre on Wednesday 17 April, 2013.

The project is a long-term partnership, now entering its sixth year, with Turtle Key Arts and the Royal College of Music.

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