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Singing group’s new approach to Parkinson’s Disease


STUNNING harmonies fill the room. If you close your eyes you are instantly transported from the Scout hut in Bitterne to a grand concert hall, carried there by the sounds of the Chessel Chanters.

The vocal talents of this group, with members aged from their 50s to their 80s, are impressive – but they become even more so when you realise that the group is largely made up of people with Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s affects each person differently but for many it results in speech difficulties, with some sufferers becoming so quiet they are almost inaudible.

But as Mary Shorter, one of the group’s founders and chair of Parkinson’s UK Solent Early Onset branch and Parkinson’s UKSouthampton branch, explains, different parts of the brain control speech and singing, so struggling to speak doesn’t mean that someone won’t be able to sing.

In fact, she explains that one of the things that led to the group’s formation was when her husband, who had a terminal form of Parkinson’s, was sent to a speech therapist, it was discovered he had a beautiful singing voice.

Another friend had to use an electronic device to communicate as his voice was so weak but he too could sing. Read the rest of the article here.

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