Voices soar for aged care

The music of composers, including Bach, Bruckner, Fauré, Handel and Haydn, will be celebrated at a concert at Toorak Uniting Church this Sunday.

By Cathy Withiel

A concert of sacred vocal music by Bach, Bruckner, Fauré, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Rossini, Schubert and others this Sunday (April 21) will support Uniting AgeWell’s Music For David program.

‘I Heard a Voice from Heaven’ celebrates the exquisite beauty of some of the finest vocal music ever composed, featuring Catherine Koerner (soprano), Dannielle O’Keefe (mezzo-soprano), Jack Jordan (tenor) and Bruce Raggatt (baritone), with pianists David Ross-Smith and Alison Sewell and chorus directed by Mari Eleanor-Rapp and reader Marian Sinclair.

Tickets can be booked for the Toorak Uniting Church concert at Kinross Arts Centre on Sunday.

Proceeds will be donated to the Music For David Program which provides relief to Uniting AgeWell community clients with dementia through music therapy.

The program aims to provide short-term relief by easing the symptoms of dementia, including restlessness and agitation, through music.

It also reduces shadowing, in which people with dementia follow their carers closely, and it gives the carers a break from having to be constantly vigilant.

Participants in Music For David and their families work with Uniting AgeWell music therapists to carefully design a music care plan that may include activities of singing, the playing of instruments and creating a digital  playlist of songs, based on their individual taste and the era of music most familiar to them.

The Uniting AgeWell Music For David program was established and named in memory of Rev David Hodges AM, a founding member of the Uniting Church in 1977 and minister at Toorak Uniting Church until his retirement in 1983.

David displayed symptoms of dementia for six years before his death in 2012.

During his final year, he and his partner and carer, musician, David Ross-Smith, were supported by Uniting AgeWell and, throughout this time, music played an integral role in David Hodges’ care.

David Ross-Smith, who was astounded at the extent to which listening to classical music soothed his partner, has been tireless in organising concerts to raise funds to support the music therapy program.

Tickets for Sunday’s concert can be purchased here

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