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New Harmonie Wind EnsembleNEW HARMONIE – TWENTY YEARS

New Harmonie this year celebrates its 20th birthday. When Dr Geoffrey Richardson set up the original ‘Horsham Wind Quintet’ in 1998 it was intended to give wind players ( flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn) a chance to play and perform some of the large repertoire of wind quintet and decet music.

The group was unknown, it had virtually no funding and venues were hard to persuade to offer concert facilities. By 2008 the group became the charity “New Harmonie” named after the European harmonie groups of strolling wind players. Foundations and Charitable Trusts began to support New Harmonie.

Groups toured Sussex village halls, ran music drama workshops in many Sussex primary and special schools and gave some major performances of specially commissioned works in the Horsham Arts Theatre involving children’s theatre and a choral piece involving around 70 local children

But over the last ten years the group began to develop a special interest in using live music as a care intervention with dementia and palliative care improving mood and well being. These are not concerts but participative events encouraging singing, movement, music making, dancing, reminiscing, relaxing, fun and interaction with players and their instruments. They have been hugely successful as demonstrated by the detailed evaluation of feedback from patients, residents, staff, volunteers and players. Using the results of evaluations working with clinical staff in the acute assessment ward of Horsham Hospital in a research project funded by Llankelly Chase, a paper was published in the Spring 2016 edition of the Journal of Applied Arts and Health. A copy of " Live wind music within an acute ward for people with dementia" can be found on this website here >>

New Harmonie is almost 95% reliant upon grant funding from Foundations and Charitable Trusts that support its work. Over 80% of grant funding goes into New Harmonie’s charitable work – where the main cost is session fees for professional musicians. Sussex has the highest prevalence of dementia care in England with about 14800 in West Sussex in 2017 and a projected increase of 26% by 2021 ( “Dementia Framework West Sussex” WSCC and NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups)

Dr Geoffrey Richardson who runs New Harmonie says “Centres want us back but cannot afford the cost of players. The only way we can overcome this is for New Harmonie to try to raise the funds that will allow us to run projects in the centres. Our evaluations which we send to funders after a project provide evidence that we do make a significant difference to mood and well being. Life for those we work with becomes more tolerable for a while”.

New Harmonie’s most recent grants are from the Foyle Foundation, the Bothwell Charitable Trust and the Inman Charity Trustees Limited. Without the generosity of the Trustees of these organisations New Harmonie could not continue its work in Sussex,

The evaluations with patients and residents reveal some truly encouraging comments.

A hospice patient said ““Missed the beginning – having reflexology. Your sessions are like reflexology of the mind” and another one said “ You have shown me that it is never too late to learn new things”.

Dementia patients said “It was a lovely selection of music. I like remembering the old songs and singing along” “ I loved it and really enjoyed myself. I was so pleased to see you all coming through the door” “ I really enjoy coming here . Next year seems a long time to wait till you come again. I’m on my own all day and coming here listening to you makes all the difference”. ““You always cheer us up when you come. When you walk in I know we are going to have some fun” “Love to dance and make music with you”

West Sussex County Times August 2018

New Harmonie continues to receive funding support for its work.

The Henry Smith Charity and the Sussex Community Foundation ( Lawson Fund and the Innes Fund) have awarded further grants to New Harmonie to allow its players to continue to use live music as a care intervention with dementia and palliative care. Projects in 2018 will be run at St Peter and St James Hospice Chailey, Skylark House Horsham, Glen Vue Day Care Centre East Grinstead, the Bradbury Well Being Centre Haviland House Worthing and Maidenbower Day Centre Care Crawley. The evaluations New Harmonie carries out after each session with residents/service users, relatives, staff and players highlights the impact live music has upon participants and is valuable evidence that we can give to funders showing how we do ‘make a positive difference’ to mood and well being. Gentle exercise, singing, making music with the players, dancing, reminiscing, listening - all contribute to rewarding sessions much appreciated by participants and their carers “ I loved it. Will be here next week. You make such a difference to my day”

And staff “ Great atmosphere. One lady got up dancing who never usually dances” “ Everyone buoyant and lots of smiling – appreciative of the music – toe tapping, clapping, singing. Many different forms of responses observed. Everyone left the session in good spirits”

January 2018


New Harmonie has been awarded another Big Lottery grant to use live music as a care intervention for people with a dementia. In 2018, quintets will visit The Laurels Day Care Centre Rustington, Skylark House Horsham, Mill View East Grinstead and Maidenbower Day Care centre in Crawley.

The group will play for three or four consecutive weeks in each venue with a programme of gentle exercises, singing, music making, dancing, reminiscing and relaxation. New Harmonie has now run over 210 workshops in more than thirty Sussex residential homes and day care centres for those with a dementia. Patients (where they are able), staff, family carers and players evaluate each session to demonstrate to funders that these sessions do ‘make a difference’ as illustrated by a few comments from participants, family carers and players.

Participants : "I enjoy the dancing. We are looking forward to next week" "Enjoyed playing the drum - relaxes my muscles" "Very good indeed - my kind of music" "Makes me recall the Starlight Dance Hall Crawley. Can’t remember if there was live music but there were lots of girls" "I really appreciate your visits" "I absolutely loved it and always do. It is a very cheerful morning and it is lovely to see everyone smiling and joining in. I think about it for the rest of the day"

Family Carers : "The music is uplifting and the effects from last week very positive" "I notice a tremendous difference during the hour we are with you. My husband has great difficulty in speaking - he loves your music and tries so hard to react to it by speaking words to me - not sentences - but I can work out what he means. It is lovely that we enjoy this precious time together" "My father enjoys your visits every time. He really loves dance music especially Glen Miller but enjoys all of it" "P was very miserable and needed encouraging to attend - but really enjoyed it - much happier now "

Players "What a great morning. I don’t ever remember seeing more involvement from the whole group. The staff are really excellent and make such a big effort to include everyone present in any way appropriate. It is lovely to see the people who find it difficult to speak to us really beaming and mouthing the words to the songs they recognised. It is great that people are now getting up spontaneously to join in and this is where the consecutive visits really show the benefits as we are able to build a good rapport over the weeks and everyone feels relaxed and confident to join in. We are also getting some really jolly banter with the group which all adds to the nice inclusive feel about the session"

Geoff Richardson who leads the group said "Without the support of the Big Lottery Fund and other Foundations we could not bring professional musicians who have special interpersonal skills working with dementia into these Sussex centres. Our work also extends into hospices where we again see the benefit of quality live music as a care intervention"

New Harmonie Dementia care

St Peter and St James Hospice Chailey

Since 2014  a New Harmonie quintet has been playing for patients in the Well-being  Centre at St Peter and St James Hospice Chailey.  Currently with generous funding from the Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing Fund ( through the Sussex Community Foundation) and the Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust we are running weekly sessions at the Hospice.  Feedback from the patients and staff is extremely positive and one patient said ‘I felt extremely blessed to be here and to listen to your lovely music’ A group of patients asked to have a picture with the players and gave permission for us to use these photographs.