Cantabrainers Choir is a therapeutic choir, led by a registered music therapist (Kimberley Wade, Southern Music Therapy) and a registered speech-language therapist (Angela Reimer, STAR). Cantabrainers exists for people with neurological conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and brain injury, helping them to improve their voice and communication through singing and socialising.
The choir was established by Therapy Professionals Ltd in 2012. On 1 January 2019 the Cantabrainers Therapeutic Choir Charitable Trust took over management of the Choir. The trustees are Clare Murray, Gerald Johnstone and Naomi van den Broek.
Through creating a sustainable therapeutic choir, the Trust enables participation, connection and enrichment of the lives of choir members, their carers and families, as well as the wider community.
Cantabrainers differs from other community choirs in that you don’t have to be a ‘singer’ - it’s about learning to use the voice effectively, in a fun way; it suits a wide range of abilities; the pace is slower; the repertoire is chosen to target specific difficulties; it’s not as challenging; and practice is in the morning when people are fresh.
While the music therapist leads and accompanies the choir, the speech-language therapist focuses on clients who require individual support during the session. Together, their combined skills provide the members with not only obvious clinical improvements, but also the framework for strong social interactions between all, leading to increased confidence, enjoyment and energy.
The close collaboration between the music therapist and speech-language therapist both before and during the sessions, using a variety of elements of music and speech (rhythm, pace, pitch and volume), enables those who have difficulty with vocal expression and communication caused by neurological conditions to “find their voice”.
To connect, enable and enrich the lives of choir members, their carers and families as well as the wider community, through the medium of a sustainable therapeutic choir.
Singing helps communication and confidence
The music has been a real uplift and meeting new people has been wonderful and so much fun. I have a lot more confidence than I had. It’s got me out of my cage.
Do I have to be a singer?
Cantabrainers Choir differs from other choirs as the singing is about learning to use the voice effectively, in a fun way. It is run by a music therapist and speech-language therapist, in an environment where people with similar issues feel comfortable and less likely to be judged. It suits a wide range of abilities. You don’t have to be a ‘singer’. Songs are chosen, developed and adapted to suit the needs of participants. Call us for a chat if you're not sure whether you or your loved one is suited to the choir.
The choir aims to improve and maintain communication through physical activity, social interaction, and emotional development. Education about communication disorders and the role of music in recovery is also provided. We work closely with the CeleBRation Choir in Auckland - the choir who provided inspiration for the establishment of Cantabrainers. Several other choirs are also being established in New Zealand, please contact our music therapist or speech-language therapist for further information.