Amici rehearsal Grenville’s trip to Brisbane and STBP

Cari Amici Feb 14

Cari Amici,

Sing to Beat Parkinson's

Very much looking forward to the resumption of rehearsals together next week Wednesday 21 st February when we will rehearse And with his stripes, and Amen , revising choruses learned so far and visiting Brahms Requiem too!

Please do come and hear highly acclaimed pianist Clare Hammond who will play at St Gregory's on Sunday 18 th 15.00 . The  programme like her playing is scintillating;

  • Haydn · Fantasia in C major, Hob XVII: 4 
  • Chin · Études Nos. 4-6 
  • Schubert · 4 Impromptus, D. 899 
  • Beethoven · Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109
  • Scriabin · Sonate-Fantasie No. 2, Op. 19 
  • Stravinsky · Petroushka Suite 

(Amongst so many achievements and extraordinary collaborations musically Clare was the the younger version of Maggie Smith’s character, ‘Miss Shepherd’, in the Alan Bennett film adaptation, The Lady in the Van, directed by Nick Hytner.)  A feat of a programme on your doorstep with tickets at the door, free parking, and no need to catch a train to hear world class playing!

Brisbane and STBP

My trip to Brisbane to contribute as key note speaker and conductor for the final Sing to Beat Parkinson' s concert was very rewarding. The symposium held over three days in the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University , was both  to examine and promulgate the results of a six month research programme using group singing with seventy eight people with Parkinson's ( PWP) none of whom had sung before in a choral group. The weekly programme of singing activities ,held in three different locations and facilitated by three choral leaders similarly fresh to the experience of working with PWP, was devised by Dr Yoon Irons whom I met three years ago in Brisbane and who came to our Aldeburgh training in 2017. The rigorous protocol utilised shared resources, identical time allocation, weekly 'homework' for the participants and a variety of recording methods to capture some of the activities en route.

At the end of the six month period standard assessment tools were used to measure the impact of the group singing, ( pdq 39, DASS etc) producing a huge amount of data which was analysed by Dr Irons and Prof Don Stewart, professor of public health at Griffith .

The results are quite wonderful ( both with regard to the trial and by implication)  with improvements shown in each of the areas measured with only one exception.The main outcome is that singing reduced stigma, in which was noticed the biggest improvement compared with other aspects of quality of life measures. Singing in groups also improved emotional wellbeing, social support and reduced depression, anxiety and stress levels. In all these improvements, Yoon Irons and Don Stewart detected a statistical significance and whilst  ' clinically' speaking, it is probably a  'small' improvement any improvement must be welcomed in a condition associated with gradual deterioration. Additionally all the participants were interviewed and this  data demonstrated quite amazing achievements during the six month period.

Yoon presented all the results as part of the first days research and delivery team seminar in great detail with sub section analysis of the data. She then made the 'public ' presentation on Friday to a wider audience which included speech therapists, voice and speech pathologists, a consultant gerontologist and others including some members of the three singing groups. 

Her presentation was prefaced by a panel discussion ,Parkinson's Disease, Neurosciences and the carer: implications for singing programme. ( still using disease here!) with significant and assuring contributions from  neurologist Prof George Mellick ( convinced through his research  that singing is as worthy an intervention as any drug...he was made Dean of the School of Medicine the day before!) and Prof Melissa Kendall, psychologist in the Rehab Dept of a Brisbane hospital and whose mother is a PWP and as such contributed  as a carer too).

Again an interesting mix within the audience of medics, allied health professionals and arts and health practitioners.

I followed Yoon with my keynote presentation for the remainder of the morning, whilst in the afternoon another presentation confirming the impact of group singing from Robin Matthews , Parkinsons Disease and community based singing therapy in Tauranga , New Zealand. A RCT with very positive outcomes which formed also the basis of his PhD.

A final panel of contributions from Robin as a speech therapist, Erica Rose , dance therapist and director Dance for Parkinson's Australia, and Robyn Lamont , Physiotherapist , presented reaffirming evidence of the efficacy of arts for PWP. 

The final day started with a live radio interview on national radio, at 7.00 ,followed by a further three tv interviews! and ended with a moving celebratory concert by the three research groups, testimony to the results which had been revealed the day before .  The media coverage has been immense with news bulletins leading on the symposium and national television including coverage in their news output throughout the remainder of Saturday Feb 3. This  media interest is mirrored by the desire for Sing to Beat Parkinson's ®to be the vehicle for a measurable impact on the lives of PWP, in Australia, New Zealand ,China,South Korea and the UK.

A small,pebble thrown into the pond three years ago in Brisbane has resulted in wonderful ripples of change for these and others in the future. All three groups intend to stay together and be part of our international organisation, Sing to Beat Parkinsons!

All best wishes

A bientôt


Here are some of the media links :

ABC News - 2018-02-04/parkinsons-singers- trial-australian-first/9394346  

Seven News - 7NewsCQ/videos/ 1813877301958447/ 

ABC Radio National Breakfast - radionational/programs/ breakfast/2018-02-05/9396046


Canterbury Cantata Trust AGM agenda and minutes

The next AGM for Canterbury Cantata Trust will be on Wednesday January 24th at St Paul's Church following a curtailed Amici rehearsal with the AGM starting at 7.15. All members welcome to attend. The agenda for the AGM can be viewed or printed by following this link, and the minutes of last year's AGM can be viewed here


Canterbury Cantata Trust AGM

The next AGM for CCT will be on Wed January 24t January at St Paul’s Church following a curtailed Amici rehearsal probably 7pm or 7.15 start – (precise time to be confirmed). All members welcome to attend and agenda to be circulated later.

Monday Music and Skylarks

Cari Amici,
I am delighted to report that Monday Music contributed wonderfully to the concert that was given in St Peter's Methodist Church on Saturday last, April 1. The concert shared with Lemon Zingers and the Swedish Ume Pop Choir was a really uplifting celebration through singing and demonstrated wonderfully our strap line caring through singing.
The event was to help raise funds for The Kelly Turner Fund, ( see The concert raised over £850.
So too tomorrow at 14.00 , St Paul's Church, April 4th when  Canterbury Skylarks ,joined by some members of Pimlico and Medway Skylarks will commemorate the two hundred year anniversary of James Parkinson identifying the condition, and sing to raise funds for Parkinsons UK.  Do come and support them, bring a cake maybe,  help the research and change attitudes to Parkinson's.
All best wishes

Concert on the 21st January

Dear singers,

What a great afternoon we had last week at the Colyer-Fergusson Hall, with such joyous singing and total engagement, not only from the choirs, but also the enthusiastic audience. The response from many was one of appreciation of the work the Trust does and this was reflected in the generous donations we received, The magnificent sum of £551 was raised, so well done to all, and especially to Grenville for having this performance as his dream.
We were very lucky also to be able to perform in Cantata the première the lovely piece, Kings and Shepherds, composed by our excellent accompanist Christopher Gower and with text provided by Amici member, David Broadbridge. What talents we have in our midst!
It was a particular treat to have all the choirs together including some from Pimlico with Nicola Wydenbach and very moving to see John and Tony performing with Sylvia for us all, Aidan Shepherd and Phil Self provided excellent accompaniment to the old favourites we sang together such as “Those Were the Days” .
Please do take a look at the Canterbury Cantata Trust facebook page where you can see some video footage and photographs taken by Sophie Barker from Cantata and a  couple from Tony Eldridge on the 21st which capture the mood beautifully.
Best wishes ,

Update on CCT Wednesday 25th January

Cari Amici

Update on CCT Wednesday 25th January
Thank you very much  for taking such an active part in last Saturday’s celebration. It was a very lovely event capturing the essence of CCT and offering to each other and our audience  a wide variety of music including a world premiere of Christoper Gower’s Kings and Shepherds.
Today we will rehearse Karl Jenkins The Armed Man and Zemlinsky  Miserere.
If you were not at last weeks rehearsal you will need to hire from our library a copy (£1.25) for the next three rehearsals. We will then place an order on your behalf from Music Room to be used in all future rehearsals.
The performance of Jenkins Armed Man and Mozart Requiem will take place on Saturday November 11th in the Colyer Fergusson Hall.
The rehearsal  today will begin promptly at 17.30 finishing at 19.00 for  the AGM of Canterbury Cantata Trust. Please be in place ready to sing at 17.30!
Monday Music 
Thank you very much  for taking such an active part in last Saturday’s celebration. It was a very lovely event capturing the essence of CCT and offering to each other and our audience  a wide variety of music including a world premiere of Christoper Gower’s Kings and Shepherds.
Thanks to Phil Self for taking the session on Monday. I am delighted that we can accept the invitation to take part in Top Choir Kent on April 8 in the Shirley Hall of Kings School. Watch this space and be prepared for some challenging weeks ahead!
Skylarks…Canterbury and Pimlico …..Sing to Beat  
Thank you very much  for taking such an active part in last Saturday’s celebration. It was a very lovely event capturing the essence of CCT and offering to each other and our audience who were rightly impressed by your singing and total engagement. Special thanks to our Pimlico Skylarks for the extra effort required to get to Canterbury and to John and Tony for the lovely duet carefully mentored by Sylvia  Gower.
For the last two days Nicola Wydenbach and I have been leading a residential course with Aldeburgh Music at Snape Maltings (in the Britten recital hall) with thirty five musicians who have either established a singing group for PWP or will be doing so soon, under our CCT umbrella of Sing to Beat. This is a very exciting development and part of my plan to make Aldeburgh Music a centre for Music and Health.
Canterbury Skylarks meets next on Tuesday 31st January at 14.00 .
Our rehearsal tonight will focus on all the choruses of the Bach B minor Mass studied so far. I have nearly completed the orchestral list for the performance in April 9 including three stunning trumpet players.

Canterbury Cantata Trust Celebration

Colyer Fergusson Hall
University of Kent

Saturday 21 January 2017


Cantata arrive for rehearsal of Lux Arumque and Kings and Shepherds 12.50
Amici singers arrive in  time for  13.10
Rehearsal  Bach Christmas Oratorio Part1
Monday Music arrive in time for
Rehearsal 13.40
Sloop John B, Those were the Days, De do ron ron, etc
Canterbury Skylarks arrive 14.10
Pimlico Skylarks arrive 14.20
Prepare and share Skylarks materials

All singers seated by 14.54

The Lord Mayor, Cllr George Metcalfe, and the Lady Mayoress arrive as guest of honour at 14.55

Welcome audience 15.00

As well as individual items we will all sing together 

Together with Friends
You are lovely people (Peaetorius)
Hearken All The Time Is Near
Senwa Da Dende
Throw Catch
String is a very important thing 


Monday Music ….smart casual with MM scarves, cumabunds
Skylarks   ……smart casual with Scarves , neckties,
Amici and Cantata long black, gentlemen black shirts.

This will be a very special day when we all come together and share our passion for singing. Please encourage your friends and relations to come and share it with us. The afternoon will end at 16.30.

Please could as many people as possible try to share cars and, if mobile, to park across the road from the Colyer Fergusson Hall rather than in the closest car park so as to enable those less mobile to be close to the hall?

Skylarks heard in Chatham!

A new singing group has been formed in Chatham with help from two Kent charities. Medway Skylarks meets in the Pilkington Building of the University of Kent in Chatham Maritime every Saturday starting on 14th January and is part of a growing initiative to help those with a neurological condition such as Parkinson’s.