Over the past six years I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with a splendid, resilient, caring, fun group of people. We've been singing together at the University of Auckland Centre for Brain Research, singing in a choir, but for therapeutic reasons. As you may have and can read in our various research and write-ups (check out where to read more here), quality of life is better if you sing! People living with Parkinson's might sing in a choir to maintain their breath control and strength of voice, while people who have experienced a stroke might join as a way to reconnect with their voice, regain their confidence and speech. It's a way to join in, exercise our voices and sing songs we know, and 'work' on the hard stuff.
I'm celebrating these six years, as it has come time for me to step back from co-leading the choir, in order to focus on other work which is continuing to grow. I will be popping back from time to time to locum with the choir when needed, so it's, 'So long, farewell" but also, "Auf wiedersehen" - until we meet again. Yes, amongst many we have been singing The Sound of Music!
There have been so many highlights, and so many meaningful moments and stories. I will think of the choir every time I pull a tiger face or a lemon face, every time I sing 'Haere Mai', and every time someone taps their watch - ready and raring to start making music! I have learned a lot from each and every choir member and they have a lot to teach the world about resilience, perspective, dedication, fellowship, empathy and warmth. In writing their x-mas cards I found myself continually thanking each of them for their warm smiles, and it was an invigorating reminder of just how much a smile can mean, and how far it can go.
Here's to you, CeleBRation Choir!
A wee video I put together with the choir earlier this year - I love the final comment, "The bikkies!!..gotta remember that".
Go to: www.cbr.Auckland.ac.nz/choir for more videos and photos
NZ Registered Music Therapist, co-creator, songbird, collaborator, advocate, lover-of-music.