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Toronto concert series aims to help those living with dementia

The idea behind the concert series is that music can improve the quality of life of people with dementia, by triggering memories.

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When the Nova Scotia rocker Matt Mays played the Dakota Tavern on Monday, the performance not only marked the 10th anniversary of the cozy downstairs music venue on Ossington Avenue, but it kicked off a concert series to benefit the Alzheimer Society of Toronto's Music Project and the Perth County chapter's iPods for Memories program. Both are based on the science that shows that people living with dementia are stimulated by lyric and melody and that the quality of their lives is improved by music. Doris Day had her Sentimental Journey and we all have our own. Songs from the past stir pleasing emotions, carrying us back in time. The idea for the coming together of the Alzheimer Society and the Dakota came after the bar's co-owner Shawn Creamer experienced the tragedy of the disease – "[my grandmother] had lost all of us," Creamer said in a news release, "before we ultimately lost her" – and after he watched the documentary Alive Inside, about the power of music to reconnect people with their memories. The month-long concert series includes live performances from Dakota stalwarts such as the Beauties and the Rattlesnake Choir, as well as a slate of "big band/small venue" shows. New memories will be created – sentimental journeys to be retraced at a later date. Info at: Brad Wheeler

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Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More


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