Stroke choir hopes debut makes waves

A CHOIR of stroke survivors will today give their debut performance at the Royal Newcastle Centre lecture theatre.

The BrainWaves choir, made up of 24 members, including carers and partners of stroke survivors, is conducted by PhD candidate Bernadette Matthias as part of her research into the impact of music and singing on the health of stroke survivors. 

The choir is also run in collaboration with the John Hunter Hospital’s Community Stroke Team, who run other creative therapy options, including art and poetry.

Ms Matthias said  research showed music for stroke survivors, particularly in the first six months after a stroke, can alleviate depression and improve speech, as well as improving the general well-being  for stroke survivors. 

Noel Johnson, a member of the choir, said that as a ‘‘bathroom singer’’, he never imagined himself to be involved in such a project.  

‘‘The choir for me is about more than just singing. Until you have been in the situation yourself, it’s hard to understand what somebody who has had a stroke is going through. Being a part of the group, I have gained confidence in myself as I am among peers who are there to help and support each other.’’

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