According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are approximately 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. The statistics are staggering, particularly when combined with the number of individuals afflicted with other forms of dementia, and the challenges of the disease are enormous for those living with it, their caretakers and health care professionals. However, The Giving Voice Chorus in Minneapolis is using choral music “to celebrate the full potential of people living with dementia by Inspiring a community-building movement that connects music, people, and joyful purpose.”
The chorus was started in 2014 as a partnership between the MacPhail Center for Music, a non-profit community music school serving over 15,000 students weekly, and the Giving Voice Initiative, a non-profit formed to inspire and equip organizations around the world to build choruses that bring joy, well-being, purpose, and community understanding to people with Alzheimer’s and their care partners. Teaching artist, Jeanie Brindley-Barnett conducts the weekly 90 minute rehearsals that consist of social time before and after the rehearsal.
From the group’s website- “Steve and Stephanie have been singing in the Giving Voice Chorus for more than a year. It’s their special weekly time together, a break for the dynamic and joyful father-daughter duo. ‘It makes us feel like better human beings,’ says Stephanie. ‘And we like working on something together.’ As Steve tells it, singing is therapeutic. ‘I was a little bitter and angry when I got the early onset diagnosis,’ he admits. ‘But singing is giving me something back. It picks me up. I get to come here and have a life!’
Learn how to start a similar chorus in your community by visiting the GVI website. Twin Cities PBS feature on the group below.