Orchestra beams dementia concerts into care homes

Orchestra beams dementia concerts into care homes


norman lebrecht

November 25, 2020

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has rolled out a series of ‘Cuppa Concerts’, intended for older people in care, with a special emphasis on dementia sufferers.

Cuppa Concerts have been programmed by CBSO musicians, who were trained in dementia awareness and have experience of working in care homes.
The first At Home programme will be a festive five-piece brass concert, performed by musicians from the CBSO.

In normal times, the CBSO presents dementia-friendly concerts in Symphony Hall.



  • Firing Back says:

    What an amazing and positive initiative.
    Warm congratulations to the CBSO and their management.

    • Firing Back says:

      Norman will probably have allowed that in jest or error – either way, I agree – but only as regards the players themselves, who are uniformly lovely.

      The management will, alas, only be doing it to tick a box for their next round of ACE funding – but everyone knows that. Then, in their ACE self-assessment, they can praise themselves, as always.

      In other news, I’m thrilled that some CBSO cronies are desperate enough for my approval of the management that they impersonate me here.

      PS, Norman – you’re allowing impersonators here now?


  • Correction corner says:

    Clearly Norman unlike the CBSO, you haven’t been trained in dementia awareness. The term ‘dementia sufferers’ is outdated and ignorant.

    Living with dementia is the term that should be used.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      People with dementia suffer. Especially in the beginning, when they get informed about the diagnosis. And people who love them also suffer. Euphemisms and novilingua-expressions don’t help – they arguably make things worse.

      • Fiona says:

        Euphemisms and novilingua expressions aside…the point is the term suffering is consistently applied to people with dementia unlike any other illness that you just ‘have.’ Only people with dementia have the right to say whether they are suffering or not. It just sustains a bleak and miserable trajectory. Like all illnesses the rest of us should support the progression to make it emotionally and physically manageable for all concerned.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      And these are the most vulnerable to Covid-19. Are these musicians quarantining at all? We can’t have housed and frail aged having their quality of life under threat.

      • Christopher Clift says:

        Sue, I understand your concern, but if you visit the CBSO website and read in detail about these concerts it is clear that they are pre-recorded and supplied to care homes in DVD format and can be played on a number of pieces of equipment. Stay safe from the virus.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Orwellian double-speak. A lefty!! Who knew?
      A person of cis-gender, health impaired status.

  • Doug says:

    Soon to have a direct line into the White House.

  • Marge O. says:

    That’s a wonderful and authentic way to help folks, ontologically, intellectually, and spiritually. Kudos.

  • Sharon says:

    This is just wonderful. I have worked in long term care for a long time. Live music is such a treat to people who are living such confined and isolating lives–and so therapeutic!
    I hope this program continues after Covid

    • Firing Back says:

      I also hope it continues.

      Problem is it will only continue if the activity itself remains of benefit to the future public funding of the CBSO .

      In other words, will it enhance their ACE funding application, and can the CBSO highlight it in their self-assessment – the one where they praise themselves to the heavens and get patted on the back by ACE cronies.
      True, but sad.


  • Stephen Maddock says:

    Again: not true.

    • Molesworth says:

      As someone who works for a different orchestra it’s concerning that Stephen Maddock seems to spend so much time reacting on this blog. Our chief exec simply would not have the time as he’s too busy with the welfare of his players, their futures, covid 19 challenges, finances, etc.
      I think if we all saw our boss on here all the time we would probably have to approach the board or something. It’s kind of unhinged behaviour.

      • Listening is Essential says:

        I think it is a question of balance.

        If an executive comments here in their own time (as some do with twitter etc.) and provides or corrects information or clarifies an issue, then that is worth while, in my opinion.

      • Brass-O says:

        CBSO player here. It hasn’t gone unnoticed. We were talking about it in one of our whatsapp groups earlier.

    • Firing Back says:

      Again: another disingenuous comment from you, Stephen.
      Of course you will highlight this in your next funding application and on your self-assessment. Saying you will not is just untrue.

  • Sharon says:

    I stand corrected; Sue and others are right that live concerts nowadays in nursing homes would be far too risky. I’m glad this is being done on line and in DVD.

    It is interesting to see how Covid ultimately will change the culture of the arts world and our culture in general. Like the Spanish flu which ended up disseminating telephones, automobiles and phonographs faster among the general population than they probably would have been disseminated otherwise Covid will disseminate new technologies among the arts and make certain arts more available to new populations.

    It will also permanently change education and promote on line learning in fields where it previously has not been tried too much, such as music education or the education of younger children.

    It’s very unfortunate that we need tragedies to push cultures and technologies forward but that is what happens; war frequently does the same–but, we ARE in a war and fighting for our lives.