Who We Are…
We have always loved playing music and singing together and started Musical Memories in order to create social singing sessions to help bring older folk together for the simple pleasure of singing, talking, remembering and enjoying each others company – not to mention the cuppa and biscuits!
Studies into singing sessions for older people have shown that singing together can boost levels of immunity, reduce stress, and improve mood and memory leading to a positive impact on overall health and well-being
Neil & Ruth Hannah
Prior to the Covid 19 pandemic Musical Memories delivered social singing sessions with live music and songbooks for participants throughout Ryedale, North Yorkshire. These sessions were designed to encourage older people to get together to enjoy singing some of the best loved songs written. The sessions, held in local community hubs are warm and friendly gatherings. Our objective – to get older people out of their homes and into the community to have fun, meet, make friends and sing!
Since March 2020 we have delivered our happy, singing and chat sessions online. Participants contribute photos, videos, poems, stories, postcards and interviews. There is still plenty of fun, chat and laughter – it really is a team effort!
There has been no break of service – we know how much it is needed – and as soon as it is safe to resume in-person singing we will be there!
‘Tune A Day’ March 2020 September- August 2020
89 daily sessions livestreamed at 11.00 am on Facebook and Periscope @MMCIC
‘Elevenses’ September 2021 – June 2021
96 sessions livestreamed at 11.00 am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday @MMCIC
Zoom Singalongs – We hold fun, interactive singalongs throughout the year – Older Person’s Day, Christmas, Valentines Day, Halloween
This project was a collaboration between Musical Memories and local playwright Libby Pearson. We felt that there was a similarity between the collective experience of the Covid-19 pandemic and that of post WW2 food rationing. The resulting short film explores this through the words of people who experienced both situations, with examples of the music of the times.
For several weeks playwright Libby Pearson joined us during our ‘Coffee, Cake & Conversation’ sessions at Helmsley Arts Centre…
Participants shared their stories of childhood, growing up and life in general – and the result was this short playlet, weaving those stories together with much loved songs of the times – all performed and sung live, and filmed by Helmsley Arts Centre.
Working once again with the Arts Team at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust we set off to the seaside to deliver a series of singing sessions on the wards at Bridlington Hospital.
Much fun was had and many said how cheerful they felt during and after the sessions.
The staff were marvellous – encouraging the patients and even dancing around the side wards. We really enjoyed our time visiting Bridlington Hospital!
We had a wonderful time during Carers Week in June singing with lots of people in every one of the libraries in Ryedale. In each of the libraries we had a warm welcome from staff and volunteers and Carers Support had a representative at each of the sessions to help us to talk about the wonderful work of carers in our communities. Much of what carers do for loved ones and neighbours and friends goes unreported – Carers Week was a way of highlighting this vital work.
Rob Townsend has been trying to capture the link between memory and singing as digital images. The results are amazing as we think you will agree.
You can hear one of the songs we sang behind the images here – Memory Waves
Our singers soon got used to Rob being around taking photographs and in May we held a joint Open Day and Exhibition where Rob’s images were showcased.
We also got used to having Rob around when he photographed us as we worked on another project with local playwright Libby Pearson.
At Musical Memories we have seen first hand the way that memories are stirred by the combination of singing songs and handling artefacts from a museum collection.
We created a Seaside Special event where we sang a selection of seaside inspired songs and Beck Isle Museum lent us some beautiful and interesting items from the Sun Sea and Sandals exhibition.
Late last year we filled Beck Isle Museum’s Parlour with our singers from around Ryedale for a celebration of Victorian and Edwardian songs.
In addition to our community activities we also enjoy working on special projects during the year.
Through our special project with Unltd to develop Musical Memories further, we had the wonderful opportunity to go to London and Salter Baxter for Innovation Day. During the day we worked with some of the brightest and most innovative people we have ever met from many different business disciplines.
These short videos give a flavour. By sheer coincidence it was International Make Music Day and this year the theme song was Bring me Sunshine – and so we had to have a singalong of course!:
We wanted to reach out to more people in the Pickering area by delivering singing sessions at a variety of new locations. These included Pickering Library, Ryebeck Court, Mickle Hill and 5 Whitby Road. Our aim was to break down barriers and encourage people from each of these communities to interact with us and each other, helping to reduce isolation and loneliness.
This project was supported the NYCC Stronger Communities Fund.
When we were invited by the Arts Team at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to deliver some happy hour sessions at Malton Hospital we were delighted to oblige. On each of four consecutive Fridays in April we visited Fitzwilliam Ward to sing with patients, staff and visitors.
We devised a novel way of moving our musical instruments from bay to bay using our trusty trolley. Feedback was universally positive and patients wondered when we would be able to return.
As part of the #Vote100 centenary of votes for women we were commissioned by Ryedale District Council to create a workshop to take a message to school students in the area about the importance of voting when they become adults.
We created a workshop to involve the students in the stories about the Suffragettes’ struggle and the impact this had on the lawmakers of the day.
We also found a wonderful link to music and singing in all of this. It turns out that before social media and mass communication the Suffragettes message was spread quickly throughout the land by using well known songs and hymns and getting the message across by changing the words. In this way the new message was easily learned and shared everywhere. Examples of this included changing the words to Onward Christian Soldiers and John Brown’s Body.
At Musical Memories we resolved to banish all thoughts of winter and celebrate the 1st day of Spring with a cream tea, a couple of hours of singing and a game of bingo?
The sun shone, fluffy clouds scudded across the sky and everyone left feeling much better and with a definite spring in their step.
What People Say About Us
Each July we organise a Vintage Afternoon Tea and Singalong in one of the largest venues in Ryedale – The Milton Rooms in Malton. Transport is provided to get 150 older people to come and join us for a themed, happy uplifting afternoon of fun, laughter, song and a scrumptious tea!
There was a star on every table…
plus a few surprises!
…the perfect accompaniment to ‘Daisy Bell’!
‘Tea for two’…
…served by the fantastic NYCC Living Well team
Also the fabulous Musical Memories Volunteers –
…take a bow ladies and gents. You were all wonderful!
We sang some crackin’ songs but it was over all too soon
‘Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye’
See you again next year for an even Bigger Sing!