On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to be asked to run a workshop at the Guildford Parkinson’s UK Branch. I had been billed as one of their regular speakers but my job is about getting everyone singing. So quickly I hoped that my talk would turn to exercises and songs. I was a little bit worried that they might not join in but no need as the whole room soon sang with such enthusiasm. As soon as I finished the branch were asking about how they could set up their own singing group. I am talking to the chair on Friday to see how this can happen.
Also a representative from the Reigate Parkinson UK branch was there who is in the process of finding a new leader for their existing singing group. The more groups the better I say.
I have just returned from a wonderful week visiting the Tremble Clefs in California. The Tremble Clefs were set up in 1994 by Karen Helsey and now have over 300 participants in 4 states. I watched three sessions in California, in Laguna Woods, Encinitas and San Diego. I learnt so much from the inspiration leaders, Karen Skipper, Kathleen and Karen Helsey herself. A more detailed report is to follow.
I came away with a feeling of such joy and fun. Here were groups of people who had been brought together because they had a degenerative disease. But this common ground was not the reason that they came back each week. The participants also talked about the improvement to their speaking voices because of the regular singing but again this was not the reason they came back. They returned week in week out because of the music and the fun and camaraderie that was created through learning and performing. They had found a sense of purpose and a reason to forget the Parksinon’s, which ironically had brought everyone together. It was such an uplifting experience. I learnt so much and sternly believe in the validity of this work. I hope to be able to train leaders in the country to set up more badly needed choirs across the country.
I would like to say thank you for the generosity of the Finzi Trust which enabled me to make this research trip.