Music cafe celebrates second birthday

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A weekly music cafe run by the East and Old Parish Church celebrated its second birthday and its 100th session on Monday.

The free cafe, the only one of its kind in Angus, was set up by the Rev. Barbara Ann Sweetin with the help of Pat Brodlie, Alzheimer Scotland dementia resource worker, and a dedicated team of volunteers from the church.

Music Cafe in East and Old church.

Music Cafe in East and Old church.

It a popular meeting place for people with dementia and their carers; the singing of old, familiar songs in a relaxed, comfortable, secure setting has not only formed new friendships but is providing much needed respite for carers and is sparking musical memories for those with dementia.

At Monday’s session, the Rev Barbara Ann said: “When I first came to Forfar I was aware of the high proportion of people with dementia. I had read something about ‘singing for the brain’ and the benefits singing can have for those with alzheimers and dementia. I approached Pat and we came up with the idea for the music cafe. It is the only one of its kind in Angus and we have people who travel here from all over the county. We have volunteer drivers and have people from Beech Hill Day Care and currently collect one resident from Lochbank House.

“Pat is here every week. Margaret Anderson accompanies the singing on the piano and if Margaret can’t manage, Bruce Simpson steps in. We use large print books and the important thing is we ask members what songs they would like to sing. They all have an input. There are three sections - old hymns, old Scottish songs and songs from the war era and from the musicals. We started in the choir room but it has become so popular it is now held in the church.”

Those who attend have commented on the great atmosphere, the fun and laughter as well as the companionship and friendship which have been made over the last two years

Pat Brodlie, who has attended 99 out of the 100 sessions said “People from all over Angus come to the music cafe in Forfar. Many look forward to it every week.”

Log on to www.forfardispatch.co.uk for more comments from Pat.