WOKING schoolchildren and care home residents were part of a choir who recently performed at a conference in The Royal Albert Hall to promote work to connect the generations.
The 40-strong group featured in Creating Change Together, organised by the Woking-based Intergenerational Music Making (IMM).
It included children from Ripley Court School, local care home residents and others who attend IMM’s regular Woking hub at Trinity Methodist Church in Brewery Road.
The choir, with an age range of eight to 95, sang Bring Me Sunshine, which was popularised by the comedians Morecambe and Wise, and It All Starts With a Song, inspired by the work of IMM.
The charity was set up in 2019 by Horsell resident Charlotte Miller, a music therapist who had worked in the NHS and then in schools and care homes. The project started in and around Woking with schoolchildren visiting care homes and hospitals to sing and play music to and with the residents and patients.
During the height of the pandemic, IMM continued through virtual meetings with children recording favourite songs and music chosen by the elderly residents and communicating online through Zoom meetings and social media.
In 2020, IMM and Care England created Together with Music, a national partnership linking tens of thousands of elderly people with local schools.
The speakers at the Creating Change Together conference included Claire Fuller, CEO of the Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, and Lord Kamall, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Commonwealth and a former health minister.
There were also speeches by Hannah McLennan, the parliamentary and research manager at the industry body UK Music, and Professor Martin Green, chief executive at Care England.
Lord Kamall said: “As an amateur musician, I know that there is no better feeling than playing live and connecting with your audience.
“Music tugs at our heartstrings and touches our soul, with the power to bring generations together and improve our wellbeing.”
Charlotte Miller said the conference was a pivotal moment in connecting sectors and professions to enhance systems and contribute to wider societal change.
“There was a shared goal of uniting the generations to create cohesive communities, and build a more resilient society for people of all ages,” she added.
“The performance by IMM’s choir was a heartwarming highlight of the day and the perfect way to demonstrate the joy of intergenerational connection.”
Charlotte said that Together with Music demonstrates the power music has to put smiles on people’s faces, particularly during the pandemic.
“Over the last two years we have been working to harness those connections and bolster the sense of compassion and community formed during times of adversity.
“We know that music has the power to bring people together. But the magical impact of bringing generations together transcends music,” she said.