To begin with, I’m not a great singer, but I’ve always enjoyed a bit of kareoke or singing in the shower. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s four years ago, I’ve noticed the tone of my voice becoming softer which is one of many non motor symptoms of Parkinson’s. So, joining the choir gave me an opportunity to sing but also to hopefully improve the tone of my voice. As we began our warm up exercises, my body was still a little tense from the stress and so I held back from singing as loud as I could. The choir director noticed this and gently encouraged all of us to sing louder, without singling me out which I really appreciated.
Once the warm up exercises were finished, we started practising our songs. Slowly, I began to get into the singing and the more I sang, the more I started to enjoy it. I could feel the stress dissipating as the melody of the song filled the hall. Our choir director also encouraged us to move as we sang, so with her direction, we all started doing side steps in line to the beat of the music. This greatly helped to loosen some of my muscles which had become tense with stress. After the first hour, we took a break for a cup of tea and by this stage, I was much calmer than I had been when I had arrived. As we chatted and laughed during the break, it became obvious to me the power that music has. The melody and the power of voices singing in unison lifted my spirit and the heartwarming feeling I experienced enveloped the stress that had infiltrated my body. By the end of the second hour, I was stress free and singing louder (although not necessarily better!) but I was really enjoying it and didn’t want to finish. That simple act of singing and being in a hall full of positive energy transformed my stressed, tense Parkinson’s body into one, that while I sang forgot I had Parkinson’s.