WASO’s Music For The Ages brings the beauty and emotion of live classical music to older adults in Nursing Homes and Aged Care settings, when they are unable to attend a symphony orchestra concert or rehearsal.

Recently, WASO travelled to RiverSea Mosman Park to put on an intimate Music For The Ages chamber concert. Residents were eagerly anticipating the event, with some dressed in their finest and accompanied by support staff or a family member.

Semra Lee-Smith and Zak Rowntree (violin), Benjamin Caddy (viola) and Nicholas Metcalfe (cello) created an uplifting and warm atmosphere as chamber music flowed through the room for 45 minutes. The repertoire, prepared by the quartet, was filled with classic favourites and nostalgic adventures.

(L to R) Semra Lee-Smith (violin), Zak Rowntree (violin), Benjamin Caddy (viola) and Nicholas Metcalfe (cello) perform at RiverSea

Presented by Alena Tompkins, Executive Manager, Community Engagement & Education, the pieces were interspersed with questions for the musicians and some light teasing between the musicians about favourite instruments.

Juliana Borrher, Lifestyle Coordinator at RiverSea, coordinated the event and was grateful to have the quartet bringing happiness to the residents.

“Music is the most powerful intervention for those living with dementia. We could not thank Alena, the musicians and Belinda enough, for organising such a beautiful concert.”

Most of the residents at RiverSea Mosman Park are in varying stages of dementia, ranging from mild to severe. Studies have shown that music, and in particular live music, provides numerous benefits to those living with dementia, such as improving mood and boosting cognition. This was certainly visible during WASO’s concert; residents were clapping along with the music, tapping their feet and singing and humming along.

Many of the pieces were followed by excited applause and exclamations, and once the concert was over, several residents approached the musicians to thank them for their time and speak of their experiences with music and the pieces.


WASO Assistant Concertmaster Semra Lee-Smith has played in several Music For The Ages performances, and said;

“Previously, some residents have mentioned the concert to their physios or occupational therapists in the following days, something which apparently is extremely unusual in patients with dementia.

“I visited Riversea last year and was deeply moved watching the residents sing along. I had some very emotional family members come to me afterwards to thank me - not having seen such connection for a long time.

“Their enjoyment is so unfiltered and unfettered - it really is a powerful experience. I wish we could come every week.”


Music for the Ages is an essential aspect of the Education and Community Engagement work WASO presents throughout the year. Find out more about this program here.