A documentary on the establishment and success of Maroondah’s Stroke a Chord choir will be filmed thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Ian Potter Foundation.
Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said the choir was started in 2010 to give people with limited or no speech the opportunity to experience something positive and joyful with their voice.
“The members of the choir may not be able to speak, but they still have the ability to sing. This is the reality experienced by a number of people living with aphasia,” Cr Makin said.
“The idea for the choir was first raised during Stroke Week 2008. After hearing that several people in Maroondah were living with aphasia, Council took the first tentative steps towards the formation of a choir,” Cr Makin said.
“With the help of a number of external organisations, the choir has gone from strength to strength, with more than 20 members now meeting every week at Maroondah Family Church in Ringwood East,” Cr Makin said.
“The choir has a qualified music therapist of Yooralla working alongside the participants to ensure they are getting the most out of the experience,” Cr Makin said.
Cr Makin said making a documentary about the choir was one more way to spread the word about aphasia and the benefits of the choir.
“The $20,000 to make the documentary will allow the participants to share their journey with Stroke a Chord, and highlight the positive health benefits that being part of the choir has had for stroke survivors and their families,” Cr Makin said.
“I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of the participants since the choir began, and the documentary will allow these people the chance to let them share their voice with the world again,” Cr Makin said.
“Seeing the positive changes in the mental and physical health of the participants will hopefully inspire other people with aphasia to consider becoming part of a community activity,” Cr Makin said.
The Stroke a Chord initiative is a partnership between Council, Yooralla, Royal Talbot Hospital, University of Queensland, Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Croydon Stroke Support Group and Melbourne University.
Yooralla’s Eastern Region Communication Service speech pathologist Bronwen Jones said the participants were excited about sharing their story as part of the documentary.
“The choir has been such a terrific success, and everybody who has had something to do with it has just been blown away by the personal stories of these participants,” Ms Jones said.
“These people have got very little speech, so we thought being in public would be confronting. But when they perform they turn into show ponies,” Ms Jones said.
“They really have blossomed, they have been filmed for the Today show and recorded for ABC radio’s Life Matters program. They are all keen to share their stories and show people that there is life after stroke,” Ms Jones said.
Filming for the documentary is expected to start in July, with production expected to take about six months.
Stroke a Chord will perform publically for the first time at 2pm, Saturday September 17 at Karralyka Theatre, Ringwood East. For more information or to purchase a ticket visit www.strokeachord.com