A breath of fresh air from wind quintet for care home residents

People living with dementia and other care home residents in West Sussex are benefitting from mood-enhancing music by the Sussex Charity New Harmonie.

Thanks to a £2,000 grant from Care UK’s Wellbeing Foundation, a quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn) is currently using live music as a care intervention for people with a dementia in Mill View, East Grinstead.

Dr Geoffrey Richardson, a clarinettist as well as Secretary and Treasurer of New Harmonie, said: “We always start with informal chats while setting up and during each session we encourage residents to join in with some simple exercises, singing, making music using percussive instruments and dancing for the more active. There is a very wide selection of music to suit all tastes. Nothing is compulsory for residents – they can join in just as they please”.

“We know from evaluations carried out after every session by residents, staff, family members present and players that these sessions do ‘make a difference’. The impact of live music with players present and actively interacting with patients has a far greater impact upon mood and well-being than recorded music. Peoples’ demeanour often changes significantly during a session and for some this carries on into the afternoon after we have left. With a recent Lottery grant award we will be able to undertake further projects at Mill View and the new CareUK Skylark House in Horsham”.

Rosemary Harvey, secretary of the CareUK Wellbeing Foundation, said: “The power of music to lift people’s moods is well-known and the work which New Harmonie has already done has clearly brought new pleasure into residents’ lives. I am delighted that we can help them to carry on bringing music and movement into our homes.”
September 2017


New Harmonie at St Catherine’s Hospice

A New Harmonie quintet, with a grant from the Henry Smith Charity , has just completed eight weekly visits to St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley. This is the first time that New Harmonie players have used live music in palliative care. The quintet consisted of flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn. Each session included gentle exercise, singing, using percussive instruments to accompany the players, quiet listening and a reflective relaxing session to conclude. Patients were particularly interested in players talking about their instruments and demonstrating the different sounds produced. Players interacted before during and after each session with patients in a very informal and relaxed way.

Dr Geoffrey Richardson who leads the group said “ We are truly grateful to the Henry Smith Charity for giving us this opportunity to work at St Catherine’s. We have met and got to know some wonderful people – the patients, nurses, volunteers. After each visit we ask patients and staff to evaluate the session along with players and we send all these comments to the Funders. Typical patient comments are ‘Once again the quintet was very, very good and I look forward to seeing you all again’ ‘This has made a really nice change for me and something completely different’ ‘It has been a lovely morning with a good mix of chat, music and interesting information about the instruments’ ‘It all makes me feel I am in a different place’.

We believe in a small way we have helped to make a difference. The Sobell Foundation has given us a second grant to work again in St Catherine’s Hospice in 2014.

New Harmonie Wind Ensemble
Sue Bellamy (bassoon), Ann Barnard (horn), Sarah Williams (oboe),
Anne Hodgson (flute), Geoffrey Richardson ( clarinet)

Local group New Harmonie wins funding for it's work with dementia patients

Horsham based New Harmonie ( has been awarded £2000 by Sussex Community Foundation in its latest round of grant-giving. New Harmonie will be able to continue its work at Mill View, East Grinstead using live music as a care intervention in dementia care. A quintet will visit the East Grinstead centre using live music for various activities including singing, exercise, music-making, dancing and reminiscing in the period leading up to Christmas.

Dr Geoffrey Richardson who leads the group said “ We are delighted to receive another grant from Sussex Community Foundation. We have worked in Mill View before. It is a very new facility offering residential, nursing and specialist dementia care in attractive surroundings. The 70 patients in this locked facility are no longer able to go out to performing arts events – we take the live arts experience to them. We are truly grateful for the continued support of Sussex Community Foundation and its donors” New Harmonie is a charity of wind musicians (flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns). Within the group of players there is a large group of thirteen players, two octets, a sextet, quintets, quartets and trios – these meet mainly to extend player experience of small group playing an extensive repertoire.

Groups also work in special and main stream schools but currently New Harmonie’s focus is using music with dementia patients and in palliative care. One carer with her husband in a hospital assessment ward wrote “The effect of your music is transforming. The difference amongst the residents during your sessions and other times when I visit is huge. The atmosphere is much more cheerful and positive. It is lovely to see people smile who don’t usually smile”

New Harmonie’s increasing focus upon dementia and palliative care
West Sussex County Times March 2014

New Harmonie

New Harmonie is a Horsham-based Sussex Charity (No 1118410 ) of wind musicians which has over the last 16 years given public concerts in village halls mainly throughout Sussex , run music-drama projects in mainstream primary schools and special schools and used live music as a care intervention with elderly patients in care centres and hospital. Today, there are over twenty top-class musicians some working on grant funded projects and all coming together in informal octets, sextets, quintets, quartets and trios for the enjoyment of playing together.

One of New Harmonie’s charitable objects is “to relieve people who are elderly, sick or disabled by organising concerts, music workshops and similar activities in residential homes, nursing homes, hospitals, care homes and other institutions and places and by providing opportunities for such people to participate in those activities”. The bulk of New Harmonie’s current work involves using live music activity for older people with dementia and those receiving palliative care

Many of those the players work with are alone, disadvantaged and attend day care centres as relief from the isolation of their daily lives and the burden of their poor health. For the elderly in residential care (especially those in locked facilities) bringing live music to them makes a significant difference to their lives – because now they are unlikely to be able to attend performing arts events ‘outside’. Patients in the last few months of their lives receive devoted care in the Hospice movement and we have shown that if only for a short while we create an exciting, positive and rewarding experience. This is achieved by using live music with singing, sedentary exercise, dancing, accompanying the players with percussive instruments, reminiscing and relaxing.

Dr Geoffrey Richardson who leads New Harmonie said “Over recent years, we have provided more than 70 live music activity workshops in 25 care centres; over 20 Falls and Cardio vascular rehabilitation clinics ; 8 workshops in St Catherine’s Hospice; and 10 workshops in the Iris Ward Horsham Hospital (assessment unit for severely distressed dementia patients). All evaluations show that we do make a difference and provide respite for some carers”.

“Currently we are working with dementia patients in Linfield House Worthing with funding from The Foyle Foundation and St Catherine’s Hospice funded by the Sobell Foundation. If we are successful with our funding applications for 2014-15 we will be playing in Mill View (East Grinstesad), Linfield House (Worthing) Maidenbower (Crawley) Glen Vue (East Grinstead), Redwood (Haywards Heath) and St Peter and St John’s Hospice (Chailey). We rely entirely on external funding to take our music into these centres”.


New Harmonie hits the right notes with the residents
West Sussex County Times Nov 28th 2013

Guild Care welcomed wind quintet New Harmonie to Linfield House this month to continue working with their new service Dementia Day Breaks and residents at the home.

The live music sessions are lead by staff at the home and include light exercise, singing, dancing, music making and relaxation. The sessions have been funded by a grant from the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and include flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and a horn player. Guild Care staff and New Harmonie have recognised that there is a noticeable difference in the wellbeing of people with dementia when they are encouraged to participate and interact with live music whether this is through song, movement, percussion or dance.

New Harmonie Wind Ensemble

Over the past 11 years, New Harmonie has run more than 70 live music activity workshops in 25 Sussex Care Centres and are carrying out research on the effect of bringing live music to people with dementia through regular evaluations and Dementia Care Mapping.

Dr Geoffrey Richardson, director of New Harmonie said ‘Staff sometimes tell us that we should expect one or two residents to leave soon after we start. In our experience this is very rare. Maybe it is the closeness to the instruments, their different tones and vibrations or the interactions between residents and five new faces. The impact of live music, the active involvement of care staff and the interpersonal as well as musical skills of players all seem to make a difference. A player said ‘I really enjoy this work. It is far more rewarding than playing in public concerts’.

Comments from Linfield House this week included ‘it brings us all together and it’s lovely’; ‘I haven’t danced in years, I am out of breath, but it was worth it!’ and ‘I really enjoyed playing the percussion – haven’t done this since I was at school’.

Dr Richardson said ‘The various forms of dementia are truly distressing conditions for the person concerned and their families. An increasing number of us will experience someone in our family with a dementia. Music, particularly live music, has a remarkably therapeutic effect on those with this condition. We are delighted with our long association with Guild Care and hope we can continue this at their new care home and wellbeing centre for people with dementia.’

Julia Johnson, Communications Manager for the charity said ‘This is a great example of how charities can work in partnership improving wellbeing for both people with dementia and their carers. The feeling of wellbeing is certainly infectious and we have been very fortunate to work with New Harmonie and to help them in their research.’

New Harmonie's 15th Birthday

New Harmonie is a Sussex based group of musicians celebrating its 15th birthday in 2013. Originally known as Horsham Wind Ensemble it became a charity and changed its name in 2007. Its founder Dr Geoffrey Richardson said ' In the early years, the group' s main activity was giving public concerts in village halls mainly throughout Sussex. Nobody knew about us and it was a struggle to get funding and audiences. Today, there are over twenty top class musicians associated with New Harmonie some working on grant funded projects and others coming together in informal octets, sextets, quintets, quartets and trios for the enjoyment of playing together.

New Harmonie

New Harmonie at St Catherine's Hospice

A New Harmonie quintet, with a grant from the Henry Smith Charity , has just completed eight weekly visits to St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley. This is the first time that New Harmonie players have used live music in palliative care. The quintet consisted of flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn.

New Harmonie

New Harmonie and the Sussex Smugglers

For several years New Harmonie has commissioned verse set to music based upon a well known children’s story ( The Pied Piper of Hamelin) or local history/folk lore ( St Leonard and the Dragon of Horsham). Players then run music/drama workshops in mainly rural primary schools. The piece is performed in words and music and then the children characterise and dramatise the story.

New Harmonie

Sussex Special Schools

New Harmonie was awarded grants by Awards for All, Jessie's Fund and the Beaufort House Trust to run music drama workshops in three Sussex Special Schools - Ingfield Manor, Billingshurst, Queen Elizabeth 2 Silver Jubilee School, Horsham and Newick House, Burgess Hill. The children, staff and players will create the story with music to depict 'The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games' 

New Harmonie

Live Music and Dementia

A wind quintet from New Harmonie has been able to continue working with dementia sufferers with generous funding from the Henry Smith Charity and the Garfield Weston Foundation. The group worked with Care staff to provide live music with exercise, singing, dancing and relaxation at the Lovett Centre in Goring-by-Sea, Horncastle House, Sharpthorne and Forest Lodge, Nutley. New Harmonie has now run 60 workshops in 24 centres mainly in Sussex with increasing focus on dementia.

New Harmonie

New Harmonie

New Harmonie
Sarah Williams oboe; Liz Burtenshaw flute; Sue Bellamy bassoon; Annie Barnard horn;Geoffrey Richardson clarinet;

From Tin Pan Alley to Abbey Road
A journey through popular music 1890's - 1960's

With further funding from The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, New Harmonie has been able to extend its quintet tour to St Luke’s Church Grayshott on Friday 24th February 2012 and Holy Cross Church Bignor on Saturday February 25th. Both concerts start at 7.30pm.

The show recalls in words and music the different fashions in popular music over the years - Vaudeville, ragtime, jazz, swing, dance bands, Broadway and the pop culture of the Beatles. Geoffrey Richardson (clarinet) and Sarah Williams (oboe) will tell you the story and they will be joined by Rachel Wright (flute), Sue Bellamy (bassoon) and Annie Barnard (horn) to play the music.

New Harmonie

Continuing our work in Residential/Nursing Homes and Day Care Centres

Grants have been received from the Garfield Weston Foundation and Barchester Health Care Trust to continue our music with exercise, singing and relaxation workshops into 2011. A quintet ran a workshop at Maidenbower Day Care centre on January 17th and another one at Methold House Worthing on 23rd March. A quartet ran music/exercise/singing workshops at Red Oaks Henfield (March 7th), Tandridge Heights Oxted (14th March) and will be at Epsom Beaumont on 18th May.

A quartet (flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon) has now run over 50 live music workshops with exercise/singing in 23 Sussex residential/nursing homes and day care centres, supported 21 Falls Clinics in Horsham Hospital and 3 Clinics in the Cardiac Rehabilitation unit of Crawley hospital.

New Harmonie
“New Harmonie Quartet: left to right
Geoffrey Richardson (clarinet); Rachel Wright (flute)
Sue Bellamy (bassoon) ; Sarah Williams (oboe)

The Grand Ball

The Local Network Fund awarded a grant for music/drama workshops in four Special Schools (Ingfield Manor, Queen Elizabeth II, St Piers (NCYPE) and High Down Worthing). Three players (oboe, clarinet, bassoon) ran four consecutive morning sessions in each school using specially composed music by Ben Pope to illustrate the story of the Grand Ball, focussing upon musical notes of different values: quavers, crotchets and minims.

Minibeast and the Circus

The Local Network Fund awarded another grant for a quartet to run two six week projects in Worthing Palatine School and St Joseph ’s School Cranleigh. The addition of a flute provided more musical colour. Both projects aimed at supporting work that the school would be doing anyway as part of the National Curriculum. The projects were a great success and New Harmonie is sorry that the Local Network Fund scheme is coming to an end.

Reviews in the Press

New Harmonie

“New Harmonie returned to Horsham after four years touring to give a concert in St Marks Church on Sunday September 30th. It was a brilliant performance by this very talented group of musicians supported by the West Sussex Arts Partnership. There was something in the programme to suit a wide range of musical tastes including a specially commissioned arrangement of Peter and the Wolf by Ben Pope where each player shared in telling the story. There were selections from the classical wind repertoire as well as music from the theatre and swing from Duke Ellington. Wind playing was shown off at its best in the splendid acoustic of the church and it was amazing to watch how the group without a conductor achieved the right balance, played with precision and accomplished smooth changes of tempo. It was encouraging to see so many children in the audience”.
Sarah Mullan, West Sussex County Times (WSCT)

Billingshurst Concert

“I saw Denise Campbell’s entry on the Billingshurst Community web site last week, then a couple of posters around the village and on Friday I read the extensive cover in West Sussex County Times about this special concert to celebrate Mozart’s 250th anniversary. I had never been to a concert in the village hall and I had never heard New Harmonie perform. Last Sunday turned out to be a lovely day and I almost stayed at home to work in the garden. I am so glad that I didn’t.

New Harmonie receives funding for several big projects 2002-4

In 2002-03 two new commissions funded by South East Arts were premièred at the main concerts. “The Traveller” by Dominic Sewell brought together the senior and junior players in a piece reflecting different cultures from Europe to Asia. “Twelve Keys to Freedom” by Benjamin Pope depicted the popular music styles of the 20th century using the ensemble, piano, alto saxophonist Jonny Pumfrey and a modern vocal group “Glass Ceiling” led by Andrew Burden.

Above image is scanned from the press review by Jane Thomas, which appeared in the West Sussex County Times

Animal antics. The animals march in two by two for 'Why cats sit on doorsteps inthe sun' performed at The Capital Theatre, Horsham

In 2003-4 with funding from South East Arts and Youtth Music , New Harmonie commissioned new works for wind by Dominic Sewell. Liz Lane and Ben Pope. One of the largest projects was “Why cats sit on doorsteps in the sun” a children’s music/dance project by Liz Lane. The story was about the animals going aboard Noah’s ark. Thirty children were prepared by the dance Company ‘Malarky’ and it was performed at the Capital Theatre Horsham on 9th November 2003. Jane Thomas reviewed the perrformance in the West Sussex County Times

With funding from Youth Music, Ben Pope was invited to compose a piece for large wind ensemble and children’s choir. “The Wisdom of the Animals” brought together the senior and junior players in the Ensemble and a specially recruited Sussex choir of over seventy young children. They came together on Saturday mornings under the baton of Steve Dummer to rehearse. It was performed at the Capital Theatre Horsham on 7th March 2004 to great acclaim. Clips from this performance are on this web site.



During the summer term 2013, a quintet from Horsham-based New Harmonie joined with children and staff at Woodlands Meed School Burgess to run a series of music/drama workshops based on this theme. The school has brand new magnificent facilities and caters for children with autism, speech and language communication difficulties. The project was made possible by successful grant applications by New Harmonie to Jessie’s Fund and The Equitable Charitable Trust.

A music drama workshop starts with an idea and a set of possibilities. Children, staff and players worked together to dramatise the Queen’s Coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, her visits to India, Pakistan, Australia, the Solomon Islands and then her return to Buckingham Palace. There were snake charmers and dancers in India, elephants bringing the Queen to a Maharaja in Pakistan, didgeridoos in Australia and arrival by canoe in the Solomon Islands.
The props created by staff were magnificent. Dr Liz Lane composed music especially for the project.

For the last workshop parents were invited to attend to see how their children worked with staff they knew and musicians they didn’t know. Mrs Gill Perry the Headteacher said “… many of our students struggle with social interaction, team work and responding to language. Some were really challenged by the idea of performing and acting in time with music, but last Monday they did manage this despite all the barriers caused by their autism, social communication issues or speech and language difficulties. It was actually a triumph to see a few pupils unexpectedly take over from ones who were away at the last minute. The whole experience will have boosted these pupils’ resilience in social situations and also improved their self-confidence- both key aims for us as a school”

The same project will run at Ingfield Manor in the Autumn 2013.

Geoff Richardson
Geoff Richardson

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New Harmonie – project funding

At a time when funding for arts organisations is so difficult to obtain, New Harmonie has succeeded in funding all the projects it plans to run in 2013-14. So we must be doing something right. Funds are sought in the year prior to the planned activity taking place and certainly we had a high failure rate during the earlier months of the year. Grant applications are often very time consuming and many Trusts don’t have the resources to reply or comment upon why a grant application is not successful. Understanding clearly what the Trustees of any Fund will and will not fund is crucial. For the fund manager of any small charity, it is a lonely and often not very rewarding occupation.

New Harmonie is a small Chartity made up of a group of very talented wind players drawn from a wide area in the south east. Flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns make up the instrumentation. Public concerts are only occasional activities now mainly because of a reluctance of Funders to support this aspect of our work. Players now use their music to support their work with dementia patients, those receiving palliative care and children with special needs. In 2013-14, quartets/quintets will work in several day centres for people with dementia and in the Iris assessment Ward of Horsham Hospital. A quintet will run music-drama workshops in Woodlands Mead School Haywards Heath and Ingfield Manor Billingshurst for children with special needs. The project over six weeks in each school is based upon the “ 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation”


Animal Magic

A trio (oboe, clarinet and bassoon) has also completed a tour of 15 special schools with a music/drama workshop “Animal Magic”. This involved 350 children. The players regarded working with these children as a real privilege and having the three instruments ‘live’ in the classroom overcame many of the communication problems.

New Harmonie
New Harmonie trio playing at the
Grand Ball

New Harmonie
The children wearing masks at the
Grand Ball

New Harmonie commissioned Ben Pope to set John Browning’s poem “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” to music for oboe, clarinet and bassoon. This was performed in concert on several occasions. With funding especially from South East Arts, The Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Barclays Bank, the trio with a narrator/workshop leader has also run music/drama workshops based on the “Pied Piper” in Sussex rural junior schools involving 2,500 children.

New Harmonie
“Pied Piper music/drama workshops”
children taking part in the Pied Piper of Hamelin
music drama workshops
"Courtesy Mark Dean"

New Harmonie
With funding from Awards for All, New Harmonie recently commissioned Ges Lonsdale to write the story of St Leonard and the Dragon of Horsham in verse and Ben Pope to set this to music for oboe, clarinet and bassoon with narrator. This is the sequel to the Pied Piper and music/drama workshops were successfully run for ten packs of local Brownies in after-school activities. Further funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation enabled about 600 more children in 10 Horsham Junior Schools to take part in this heritage project.

Horsham Brownies with New Harmonie on the Smugglers’ Trail

New Harmonie, with funding from The Ernest Cook Trust, commissioned Ges Lonsdale to research the Hawkesbury gang’s smuggling exploits in West Sussex during the 18th century. Ges Lonsdale created “ A Smuggler’s Tale” in verse which Ben Pope then set to music for oboe, clarinet and bassoon with narrator. This piece is the third in a series of commissions by New Harmonie. The first one was “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” using the original poem by Robert Browning and was subsequently used as the basis for over eighty music/drama workshops in West Sussex primary schools. This was followed by “St Leonard and the Dragon of Horsham” researched and written by Ges Lonsdale and set to music by Ben Pope. New Harmonie took this, as a music/drama workshop, into more than forty West Sussex primary schools and ten Horsham Brownie packs after school.

With the current difficulty in raising funds, New Harmonie has so far only able to run three after school music/drama workshops in November involving sixty five children from 1st and 8th Horsham, 2nd Broadbridge Heath and 3rd Roffey. The workshops held at Farlington School were possible with funding from Gatwick Airport Community Trust and Horsham District Council.

Dr Geoffrey Richardson who leads New Harmonie said “We are extremely grateful to the Ernest Cook Trustees who had the confidence in us to make it possible for New Harmonie to commission “A Smuggler’s Tale” and to Gatwick Airport Community Trust and Horsham District Council for funding these first workshops. Small charitable arts groups like New Harmonie are finding it extremely difficult at present to obtain grant funding. The children that took part learnt something more about their local history, were fascinated by the three instruments, demonstrated vivid imaginations, enjoyed the inclusive nature of the workshops and were successful in putting a dramatisation together and performing it with music in a very short period of time. There are other Brownies who would have a wonderful time dramatising this brand new verse in addition to the twelve Sussex primary schools that have been waiting so long for us to succeed in raising the necessary funds”