Local Aveo residents sing for wellness and Parkinson’s disease

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Local residents at The Clayfield by Aveo raise their voices for the Aveo Wellness Choir’s final concert of 2017 representing a crescendo end to a fantastic year.

The choir was formed in October this year by an Aveo resident who recognised the therapeutic benefits of singing for seniors who are living with Parkinson’s and wanted to start a singing group for his local community. 

What began as a simple idea sparked the interest of speech pathologist Bernadette Dutton and local music teacher Wendy Brown who both work with people living with Parkinson’s disease and are passionate about the benefits of singing for the disease.

Thus, the first Aveo Wellness Choir at The Clayfield began with 10 locals and residents partaking in the event. Within six weeks the choir’s numbers grew to 22, with all attending the final concert.

Local resident at The Clayfield and choir member Gena Evans whose husband Garth has Parkinson’s disease said that the choir has reignited her husband’s interest in music.

“He has spent hours downloading music so he can practice the songs we learn in choir. It’s been so beneficial not just for us but for all the residents involved, we have a lot of fun,” said Gena.

Musician and Piano Teacher, Wendy Brown said that no prior singing experience was necessary to participate and members simply had to come along with an open mind to have fun.

“Our song requests range from Edelweiss to Sweet Caroline and even Rhinestone Cowboy, with each song having unique vocal and body movement focuses,” said Wendy.

“It’s just incredible to hear members with Parkinson’s say afterwards that they’ve accomplished something new and they hear sounds coming out of their mouths that they’ve never heard before,” said Wendy.

Bernadette Dutton from Loqui Speech Pathology said the varied song choices allow choir members to challenge their mind, improve their voice and move their body in different ways while singing.

“Facilitating the choir and watching each choir member sing and move in their own way would have to be one of the highlights of my week,” said Bernadette.

“There is increased interest and research into the benefits of singing for people with Parkinson’s disease, aphasia (communication impairment) and dementia with some choirs like ours in the USA having more than 100 members,” said Bernadette.

The choir will be reconvening in 2018 and they hope to share the joy they’ve found with other Brisbane seniors and locals living with Parkinson’s disease.

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