Stanford House clients embrace classical music

18 December 2012
Classical music is enriching the lives of Stanford House clients who’ve responded enthusiastically to the recently established WDHB regional forensic mental health unit’s classical music programme.
Stanford House rehabilitation assistant Lindsay Stockbridge is the driving force behind the programme which is designed to encourage Stanford House clients to think about the music they listen to, to explore the composers’ lives and circumstances, and to take the opportunity to widen their musical experience and learn about the make-up of an orchestra and smaller musical units such as quartets.
Stanford House clients help organise the music group meetings, they discuss what music will be played and the background to the music. Discussions about the era in which the composer lived helps put the composer and their music into perspective for the group whose membership is voluntary.
A strong supporter of the music programme, Stanford House acting clinical nurse manager Peter de Roo says in addition to the enjoyment that clients get from listening to the music, the group has relished the opportunity to attend two musical events in Palmerston North.
Late last year three Stanford House clients and three staff members attended the movie The Last Night of the Proms at Cinema Gold in Palmerston North which captivated them, despite the fact the film was more than three hours long.
Peter says when two clients asked if they could attend a live concert next time, rather than a movie, he and Mr Stockbridge looked into it. “This led to our taking a group to the Regent on Broadway in Palmerston North in mid-October to hear the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,” Mr de Roo says.
“It was a wonderful night for everyone involved and it meant a great deal to our clients who had saved hard to help cover their admission cost of around $25.
“I believe everyone involved in this programme gains from it. For the clients, it’s an opportunity to improve their listening and concentration skills, to lift their social skills and to gain confidence with people in their immediate environment and in the community.
“It also broadens their knowledge, encourages them to read and helps them become more tolerant of others and their problems.”
Mr de Roo says WDHB and Stanford House staff have been very supportive of the programme - in particular occupational therapy assistant Sue Baldwin who was one of the staff members who accompanied the clients to both the movie and the concert.
Mr Stockbridge says there is strong interest among Stanford House clients for the programme to continue so he’s busy planning what composers the men will listen to next year and what concerts they might attend.