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English Symphony Orchestra

The Worcestershire based English Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1978 by William Boughton. The idea behind the ESO is to share the joys of live music with as wide a population as possible. As well as visiting care homes and hospices, we run a full concert programme featuring performances by the String and Symphony Orchestras and also by chamber ensembles made up of members of the orchestra. We subsidise regular weekend courses for beginner and intermediate students and increasingly invite students to join us in our concert performances.

16 February 2016
West Midlands
Arts, Voluntary Sector
Local Alliances:
Herefordshire Dementia Action Alliance, Malvern Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Music can provide comfort and hope to listeners in all stages of life but, all too often, when people reach their last days, the music stops.

The ESO are deeply committed to helping people in care homes and hospices whose well-being, health and happiness are greatly enhanced by the life-affirming power of live music. The ESO musicians are all passionate about performing in care homes. Commenting after the concerts, Stephen Warner, who plays double bass and guitar in Downside Up, remarked “We give lots of concerts yet I think our performances in care homes are the only situations where we genuinely make a difference to somebody’s life.”

Music can help bring comfort and hope to those with depression and serious illness and it can also be a crucial source of engagement and stimulus for people living with dementia.

The ESO recently made a DVD, entitled ‘Music to Lift the Spirit’, which was produced primarily as entertainment suitable for people living with dementia.  Whilst fundraising to cover the cost of making this DVD, dementia support professionals and practitioners gave us overwhelming confirmation that such a resource would be invaluable. One nursing home owner, Richard White, from Stanfield Nursing Home, near Worcester, said ‘The work of the ESO and those promoting this DVD should be recognised as an essential and ground breaking development in improving the quality of care and life experience of our residents.’

Comments from viewers of the DVD include:-

‘Thank you for a lovely concert.  How much do I owe you?’ – Elderly gentleman with mild/moderate dementia.

‘Oh that!  I understand that!’  Resident with severe dementia who was unable to concentrate/comprehend other TV programmes/DVDs.

2.  What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

As the ESO is a charitable organisation, our greatest challenge will be to raise sufficient funds to cover the cost of putting on regular concerts in care homes and hospices.

Member contacts


2. Actions

  • Concerts in Care Homes & Hospices

    We aim to put on as many concerts as possible.

  • Work with Local Dementia Action Alliances

    We are now working with our local DAA in Herefordshire (and plan to do so in Worcestershire as well) to raise awareness of the work of the ESO.

  • Fundraising

    We raised sufficient funds to put on the following concerts in 2015

    DAY 1:  Monday March 2nd 2015

    ESO String Quartet

    Stanfield Nursing Home, Rushwick

    Latimer Court Care Home, Worcester

    Astley Hall Care Home, Stourport-on-Severn

    DAY 2:  Tuesday March 31st 2015

    ESO Wind Quartet

    Hastings Residential Care Home, Malvern

    Stanley House, Bosbury

    Hill Ash House, Ledbury

    DAY 3:  Thursday April 2nd 2015

    ESO Wind Quartet

    Coldwells House, Holmer, Herefordshire

    The Weir Nursing Home, Swainshill, Hereford

    Charles Court Care Home, Hereford

    DAY 4:  Thursday May 14th 2015

    ESO String Quartet

    The Hawthorns Care Home, Evesham

    Ambleside Care Home, Stratford-upon-Avon

    Bancroft Gardens Residential Home, Stratford-upon-Avon

    DAY 5:  Tuesday June 9th 2015

    ESO Downside Up duet

    St Richard’s Hospice, Worcester

    The Firs, Worcester

    Regent Residential Care Home, Worcester

    DAY 6:  Wednesday June 10th 2015

    ESO Downside Up duet

    Waverley House Care Home, Leominster

    West Eaton House, Leominster

    Hendra House Residential Home, Ludlow

    DAY 7:  Friday June 12th 2015

    ESO Wind Quartet

    Whitegates, Bromyard

    Hampton Grange Nursing Home & Gwen Wolford, Hereford

    Field Farm House Residential Home, Hereford

    DAY 8:  Thursday 23rd July 2015

    ESO Downside Up duet

    Bradbury Court & Davenham, Great Malvern

    Cleeve House, Great Malvern

    The Springs, Malvern Link

    DAY 9:  Friday 24th July 2015

    ESO Downside Up duet

    Norton Hall, Norton, Worcester

    Mowbray, Great Malvern

    Perrins House, Great Malvern

    DAY 10:  Wednesday 9th September 2015

    ESO String Quartet 

    Stanfield Nursing Home, Rushwick

    Storer Court, Barnards Green, Malvern

    The Chace Care Home, Upper Welland, Malvern

    3 more days of Concerts are currently in the planning

    Being implemented

    2015 - Third Quarter Update

    See above