The Therapy Choirs of Michigan: It’s About More Than Just Singing!

Co-Director, Len McCulloch founded The Therapy Choirs of Michigan with the objective of aiding the rehabilitation of those in need through singing in a choir, what he has coined as "CHOIRTHERAPY.”  “I was working as a psychotherapist in a rehabilitation facility for people recovering from traumatic brain injuries when a unique patient came to our program.  The man had spent the previous eighteen years in State Hospital.  He was distinctive because we knew he could talk, but he wouldn't.  One day, someone told me they had heard him singing!  When I saw him next, I said ‘I know you don't like to talk but, can you sing?’  He belted out a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace."  I’m not sure why, but my response was, ‘We have a choir now and you are it!’  He and I met in my office and communicated by singing simple songs back and forth.  After a while, he eventually began talking!  In the mean-time, other patients heard our singing, asked me about the choir, and joined." 

TCM’s goal is to create an exceptional group of vocalists, not necessarily in sound, but in spirit.  “We aim to provide a therapeutic experience to all who are involved with us, singers and volunteers alike.  All potential members need is a positive attitude and a willingness to have fun; no prior singing ability is required.  Through our "CHOIRTHERAPY", we aim to inspire ‘differently-abled’ people to enjoy all aspects of their life and to build their hope for the future.”  In addition, TCM continues to raise public awareness and educate the general population about the people who sing in their choirs.

TCM has three therapy choirs for people of all ages with developmental disabilities and various special needs.  They are developing concepts for The Developmentally Disabled Peoples Choir, The Seniors’ Therapy Choir, The Children’s Therapy Choir, and the Veterans’ Therapy Choir.  “We have shown, over the past decade, that choir therapy enhances self-esteem, alleviates depression, increases socialization, aides memory and related cognitive functions and is very enjoyable.”  The group has performed over 200 concerts in the last decade.