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The Cantabrainers Choir - more than just music

From Upbeat, 12:30 pm on 28 July 2021


'Everyone can sing' is an oft touted phrase.

For people who have suffered a stroke, or who live with Parkinson's or Multiple Sclerosis it can seem like an insurmountable challenge. It’s a challenge, however, that has proven to be a pathway to speech.

Enter the Cantabrainers Therapeutic Choir, a singing group dedicated to supporting people with neurological conditions.

What began as an idea over a cup of tea some 10 years ago has morphed into a charitable trust with over 35 members, volunteers, and therapists all meeting once a week to belt out tunes.


Cantabrainers’ music therapist Kim Wade says most members are not musicians and prior to joining the choir would only sing in the shower.

"I can name several members who said that choir was not for them, but then they came along to a session and it was so different from what they imagined.

"[Singing] can help them express themselves and help those words really flow, they can get addicted to that."

Kim and Cantabrainers charitable trust chair Clare Murray talk to Upbeat host David Morris about the therapeutic benefits of singing, the social aspects inherent in a choir, and the importance of a good morning tea.

The Cantabrainers will be appearing at the Christchurch Arts Centre on Saturday August 14 at 10am as part of the Music Therapy New Zealand Symposium.




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