“Singing not only improves brain function, but strengthens the vocal chords,” said Jim Histand, committee member with the West Side Tremble Clefs who will perform a benefit concert on Nov. 12 in Sun City. [Submitted photo]
What: West Side Tremble Clefs
When: 3 p.m., Nov. 12
Where: United Church of Sun City, 11250 N. 107th Ave., Sun City
Parkinson’s singers blend strong voices in concert. West Side Tremble Clefs coming to Sun City. By Steve Stockmarindependent newsmedia
The West Side Tremble Clefs (WSTC), a local group affiliated with the Parkinson Network of Arizona and part of a nationwide music therapy program for people with Parkinson’s disease, will present a benefit concert.
The original Tremble Clefs in Scottsdale was founded in 1994 by Karen Hesley, a speech therapist, to enhance voice volume through singing. In 2008 the West Side Tremble Clefs was founded by Sun Joo Lee and volunteers in the West Valley.Singing offers natural therapeutic value for many of the voice symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Singing also provides the focus for a group of people with Parkinson’s, and their partners, to share in a joyful activity and work toward a common goal. “Although we’ve had a few instrumental musicians, our group sings – vocal therapy,” said Jim Histand, WSTC Steering Committee member. “Those with Parkinson’s disease experience a deterioration of muscle skill and ability over time: swallowing, walking balance, writing ability etc., become difficult. Voice deteriorates and the person loses the ability to speak out. Singing not only improves brain function, but strengthens the vocal chords.
When I joined the group three years ago, I had declined invitations to sing because of my deteriorating voice. Within about a year after joining the West Side Tremble Clefs, my voice was back to normal.”The Tremble Clefs Program establishes singing groups with these primary benefits. The focus is on using good breathing practice, louder voice volume and wider pitch range, thus addressing some of the most serious voice symptoms found in people with Parkinson’s. One of the typical characteristics is a soft, breathy voice. Other symptoms may include slurring and monotone. People with Parkinson’s Disease also may suffer from slowness of movement and therefore reduced activity and sometimes social isolation.Participation in a Tremble Clefs singing program can help overcome these problems through breathing, stretching and posture activities, vocal exercise, rhythm and movement, and a strong social support system.“We’ve become a family,” Histand said. “We help each other sometimes with transportation, visits in the home, phone calls when absent, keeping in touch by email while snowbirds are away, eating out together, encouragement by praising for a good job on a solo when it is a good accomplishment for them even though it falls short of society’s standard for music, being good listeners, and frequently singing for memorial services when one of our members passes on.“We share news of Parkinson’s research and our own experiences with treatments and how effective/ineffective they are. Encouragement, care, and a smile for those dealing with an incurable degenerative disease, from those experiencing the same problems, is valuable. And we have fun together at practices.”Some of the selections the group will perform on Nov. 12 include “When You Wore a Tulip,” “For Me and My Gal,” “That’s Amore,” “It’s Now or Never,” and more.There will be a silent auction and ice cream social. The event is free, but donations are appreciated.