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Patients applaud musical interlude

Gene and William Scoele

From Myfanwy to Delilah, music has been unlocking memories for dementia patients in Swansea Bay.

A harpist and violinist from the charity Music in Hospitals and Care, performed a special concert for patients, relatives and staff in Cefn Coed Hospital.

The NHS’s 75th anniversary, which was celebrated at the start of July this year, was also marked at the event with a buffet and themed cake.

Chloe Baker, live music coordinator for the charity, said: “We brought a harpist and violinist. Usually when we offer a harp and violin they expect classical music but they can offer so much more than that. There’s dancing, they get people clapping along – they offer a whole range of different repertoire. 

“I love organising visits here because the staff are so engaging and there’s always a positive response from the patients.”

The duo visited two wards – Onnen and Derwen – playing an hour’s concert in each.

Marged Harpist, Marged Hall (left), said: “It was such a beautiful place to come and perform because you can see the power that music has and how different people connect to different things.

“It’s been proven that music helps unlock memories in dementia patients and you can clearly see that response – even if they can’t remember the lyrics you can sense that the melody means something to them. 

“Sometimes it’s a happy response and sometimes it’s more emotional but it’s very powerful knowing that music can reach into that place where theirs is still some sort of response and emotion and then seeing how that impacts on our audience.  It’s very beautiful to see.”

Violinist, Angharad Smith (right), added: “This is the best job in the world. We get to play our instruments and we get to enjoy a great day out in front of people who are the nicest and most generous with their time and their comments. 

“If you play something they really like they will tell you that it’s brilliant. Angharad

“We loved it and had nice reactions from Myfanwy and Delilah, which was amazing. There was lots of dancing, especially from Handel.”

Relatives of patients were invited to the concerts. 

Gene Scoele, who was visiting her husband William, said: “It’s a great idea that the health board is trying this.

“He has always loved music. I think this brings it all back. We have been married for over 60 years and music has always been in his head from the world go.”

Ward manager, Deborah Morgan, said: “We have a range of musicians in quite regularly on Wednesdays but this was a bit different because we also marked the 75th anniversary of the NHS.

“It was really good. The patients always enjoy themselves when they come in.”

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