Ruth Hannah from Musical Memories tells us about her singing ‘Happy
Hour’ sessions in Pickering
and the positive effect it has on the older
people who attend.
I started Musical Memories, which is a
social enterprise, to give older people the opportunity to sing together
and enjoy each other’s company. It helps to combat loneliness and
isolation and improves health and well-being.We sing songs
of yesteryear because they are familiar to many older people; they help
to stimulate the memory and encourage reminiscence. Studies have shown
that singing together can boost levels of immunity, reduce stress and
improve mood, having a positive impact on overall health and well-being.
Find out more about Sing Your Heart Out
Musical Memories ‘Happy Hour’ is a fun, social singing session for
older people. Singing many of the best known songs of the 20th century
and accompanied by piano and guitar, it is the perfect opportunity get
together in a social setting, have a cuppa, reminisce, make new friends
Since we started in October, the number of people
attending our ‘Happy Hour’ has grown and grown. We warmly welcome
everyone with a cup of tea and a biscuit and then we get down to the
real fun – singing and remembering.Everyone is provided
with a songbook in large type face for easy reading, I play the stage
piano and my husband, Neil, plays the electric guitar to lead the
singing with the group.
Each month has a focus or a theme:
we had a wonderful time at Christmas playing sleigh bells and swannee
whistles; for February we sung from specially collated ‘Love Song’
booklets and in March we focused on songs with girls’ names in them for
International Women’s Day. This month, our theme has been British songs
from the Eurovision Song Contest so we’ve been singing classics like
‘Puppet on a String’.
Some of the older people come to the
sessions by themselves while others are accompanied by neighbours or
relatives who also stay to enjoy the singing. One neighbour picks up
three ladies and brings them to the session each week. Many stay on for
the lunch club which is held afterwards for a meal and the opportunity
for even more socialising.
It is lovely to see how the
sessions affect the older people that attend. One gentleman attends with
his daughter, who also stays to sing. He particularly likes the songs
from the musicals. He recently told his doctor ‘This is my medicine’ as
it made him feel so much better.
Another lady initially
appeared quite shy and reticent but over the weeks has become quite
playful. She was recently seen leaving one session confidently singing
‘Kiss me honey, honey kiss me’ – a real favourite of the group. After
singing ‘Slow Boat to China’, another gentleman recalled, in
conversation with Neil, his father’s wartime experiences in China.
runs sessions for the Royal Voluntary Service Pickering
. Find out
more about volunteering
or support services
in your area.