Sharing the Joy of Song – “With One Voice” Choir proves a hit with our customers

Choir performing on stage with conductor facing them.

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ROYAL FREEMASONS EASTERN “WITH ONE VOICE” CHOIR, HAS BECOME THE CENTREPIECE OF CENTENNIAL LODGE RESIDENTS’ SOCIAL CALENDAR WITH ABOUT HALF OF ALL CUSTOMERS COMING TOGETHER WEEKLY IN SONG, WITH FAMILY, EMPLOYEES AND VOLUNTEERS.

by Swinburne University researchers reported that the Choir demonstrates the tangible benefits of a person-centred approach to care.

The project, titled ‘With One Voice Social Inclusion Model’, is the brainchild of Creativity Australia a highly experienced community organisation that brings very diverse people together to sing and expand their lives. It is underpinned by a sharing and giving philosophy.

The research reported that it creates social inclusion and community building outcomes such as:

  • 95% of people ‘always feeling better after choir’
  • 84% say they have made new friends or relationships
  • 81% of people experiencing improved wellbeing
  • 79% have learned new things, and
  • 71% have improved community involvement.

The ‘With One Voice’ Choir provides graduated opportunities for social participation, such as attending rehearsals as audience members or involving partners, always sensitive to an individual’s comfort level. Elders in need of memory support are able to participate as equals.

At Centennial Lodge, five choir members reportedly beyond meaningful conversation, are now managing their dementia. It is quite extraordinary, but all of them not only remember the repertoire of songs from their predementia lives but actively learn new songs including complicated round singing. In this way, participation in the choir enhances residents’ socialisation with the rest of the community, a most rewarding outcome for all. Rehearsals are light-hearted and joyful.

Employees and volunteers regularly dance with residents and sing to each other. A customer with advanced Parkinson’s, who can no longer sing, is assisted to joyfully march in time to the music.

2016-2017 Appeal

The Choir brings people together and is yet another example of innovating person-centred care at Royal Freemasons. Funds are needed to cover the costs associated with the skilled resources from Creativity Australia, including Conductors (who are also musicians), performance arrangements and administration. The focus of our next Appeal is to raise sufficient funds for the Choir at Centennial and our other residences. A return donation form is included which allows you to help make a difference to the lives of elders in our care.

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