Herefordshire Freemasons and the Masonic Charitable Foundation have made a £33,644 grant to The Orchestra of the Swan.
Founded in 1995 and based on Warwick Schools Foundation, the Orchestra provides a wide range of musical activities across the region and are passionate about audience inclusivity.
Integral to the life of the Swan, is the music they bring to those living with dementia, PTSD, visual impairment and other conditions. It is moving to see the positive, transformational effect their players have on those who attend the regular dementia-friendly Café Muse in Hereford, while the players speak positively of the reward and specialist training they in turn receive.
The session certainly encourage audience participation with dancing, singing and playing a variety of instruments. The head of Freemasonry in Herefordshire Michael Holland, supported by Tim Bridgland Taylor and Andrew Moore were warmly received and able to see first hand the delight the session brought to the participants.
The MUSE sessions not only allow participants to explore musical instruments and rediscover any musical skills but also to make new friendships and reduce loneliness.
It was great to see the grant being put to good use and the looks of joy on the faces of those participating. I think secretly we all enjoyed ourselves too!
Debbie Jagla, managing director of Orchestra of the Swan, said:
“We’re very grateful to Herefordshire Freemasons for their generous grant which has secured the future of this important service for armed forces veterans or people with a link to the armed forces, whether through a partner who may have served in the forces or other family member, either living with dementia and/or other mental health challenges. Over the last two years we’ve hosted well over one hundred Café Muse sessions at the Courtyard, helping to improve the emotional wellbeing of more than 1,200 attendees. All this was made possible through co-created musical workshops delivered by Orchestra of the Swan’s professional musicians.”