Our history

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The Prologue
The core of the choirs has Parkinson’s Disease, usually accepted as the familiar palsy of old age.  But of the 120,000 people with PD in the UK, one in twenty is under the age of 40. Family, work colleagues and medical professionals often consign us to a future of drugs and despondency.  The same is true for most chronic illnesses where the conventional ‘best practice’ view is that the NHS should provide a good doctor who will prescribe the right drugs, and the local authority will provide other forms of care and equipment.

Act One
When Nina Temple and a friend were both diagnosed with PD, they decided that such a future was neither good enough nor the right approach – a chronic illness should not mean a life spent in retreat. They decided to form a choir, got funding from the Parkinson’s Disease Society in 2003, appointed inspirational jazz singer Carol Grimes as their musical leader, and the highly inventive jazz musician Dorian Ford as their pianist, and they were off.

Act Two
From a shy and shaky start in Kentish Town the choir blossomed into weekly workshops and occasional public performances, ranging from fundraising cabarets at the TUC’s Congress House to singing in Westminster Cathedral (even though the choir is non-religious!) at the Parkinson’s Disease Society Christmas Concert.

Act Three
The demand for places in the choir was such that our second choir was set up in Bloomsbury in 2009.

Act Four
Both choirs continue to flourish…….!

“This approach to chronic and degenerative illness was an amazing journey – from hardly venturing outside our homes, to pure enjoyment in the weekly workshops and then on to singing in public. Being part of Sing for Joy helps us overcome isolation, pain and anxiety and makes us feel uplifted and glad to be alive.  We want to raise the public profile of Sing for Joy, in order both to secure the future of these precious choirs and to spread the word, so that singing becomes an integral part of mainstream treatment for chronic illnesses.”

Nina Temple, co-founder and active member since 2003

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Nina’s comments are not just wishful thinking. Researchers have examined the effects of music therapy and choir-singing on a range of people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.  There is now evidence in the medical literature, including randomised clinical trials, that these approaches not only make people feel better (perhaps the most important outcome) but that they produce measurable changes in the body’s physiology and can improve both physical and mental health.  What’s more, unlike many conventional therapies, they have no unwanted side effects.


A paper was presented at the conference Music and Health: Current Developments in Research and Practice organised by Stephen Clift at the University Centre Folkestone (9-10 September 2008) and consists of three sections written by Carol Grimes, Sarah Benton and Nina Temple.

If you would like us to email you a copy, please Contact Us and let us know any particular areas of interest.


milestone events

2003
September – our first choir, Sing for Joy (Kentish Town) is founded by Nina Temple and Anne Hutchinson, with Mike Power and Jonathon Knight

2004
July
1st Benefit Cabaret – TUC Congress House – Carol Grimes and The New Coats (Annie Whitehead, Steve Lodder, Josafina Cupido, Jennifer Maidman, Barb Jungr) and Wayward Grace (Deanna Benedict, Viv Corringham and Evrah).

2005
July
2nd Benefit Cabaret – TUC Congress House – Carol Grimes with singers from The Shout (Richard Chew, Greg Wain, Giles Perring) also Adey Grummet, Manickam Yogeswaram, Askew & Avis (Rebecca Askew and Jeremy Avis) And The Decoy Divas
December
Parkinson’s Disease Society Carol Concert – St Marylebone Church

2006
July
3rd Benefit Cabaret – TUC Congress House – Carol Grimes, Dorian Ford, Paul Taylor, The Mark Jennett Trio, Joe Bickerstaff, Paul Southern, Tristram Wymark (compere)
December
Parkinson’s Disease Society Carol Concert – Southwark Cathedral
Performance with Barbara Thompson

2007
June
Performance and workshop for nurses working with people with Parkinson’s Disease – Loughborough
July
4th Benefit Cabaret – TUC Congress House – Carol Grimes and Friends featuring Josafina Cupido, Tristram Wymark (compere)
December
Open Workshop – National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Parkinson’s Disease Society Carol Concert – Westminster Cathedral
Carol singing fundraising – Stoke Newington Church Street

2008
April
Open workshop for Parkinson’s Awareness Week – National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
July
5th Benefit Cabaret – TUC Congress House – Carol Grimes, Dorian Ford, Max de Wardner, John Hegley, Tristram Wymark (compere)
August
Presentation and performance International Neurological Conference – Madrid
December
Parkinson’s Disease Society Christmas Carol concert – Central Hall, Westminster
Carol singing fundraising – Stoke Newington Church Street

2009
January
Singing For Health event – Dana Centre, Science Museum

April – Our second choir, Sing for Joy (Bloomsbury) is launched – National Hospital for Neurological Diseases.

May
Fundraising quiz – the Royal Sovereign pub, Stoke Newington
Concert – Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability, Putney, recorded by CNN click here
June
6th Benefit Cabaret -TUC Congress House – Carol Grimes, Dorian Ford, Jennifer Maidman, Annie Whitehead, Steve Nallon, Andrew Bailey
July
14th Sing for Joy granted charitable status by the Charity Commission
November
Paper presented on the benefits of singing for people with Parkinson’s Disease – Canterbury Christchurch University, Folkestone.
December
1st joint open workshop for Christmas – National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Carol singing fundraising – Stoke Newington Church Street
Participation in discussions on benefits of singing for people with Parkinson’s Disease – Canterbury Christchurch University

2010
May
Performance – ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy) Life Weekend Conference
Participation in research project on the benefits of choral singing for people with Parkinson’s and similar diseases
July
7th TUC Benefit Cabaret -TUC Congress House – Carol Grimes, Dorian Ford and Friends, Didi Hopkins (MC)

2011
January
Performance at the Dana Centre – Science Museum
June
8th Benefit Cabaret -TUC Congress House – Carol Grimes, Dorian Ford and Friends, Didi Hopkins (MC)
November
Open singing workshop – Dragon Hall, Covent Garden
December
Carol singing fundraising – Stoke Newington Church Street

2012
February
BBC4 broadcast of our participation in documentary Playing Against Time on saxophonist Barbara Thompson and Parkinson’s Disease click here to see more.
July
9th Benefit Cabaret – Garden Party – Highgate
December
Carol singing fundraising – Stoke Newington Church Street

2013
November
Ten Years Louder – 10th Benefit Cabaret – Stoke Newington Town Hall – Carol Grimes, Dorian Ford, Annie Whitehead, Mark Jennett, Pip Mayo (MC)
December
Carol singing fundraising – Stoke Newington Church Street

2014
July
11th Benefit Concert – Clifton Nurseries (www.clifton.co.uk)
December
Carol singing fundraising – Stoke Newington Church Street

2015
January
Joint open workshop – National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Spring/Summer
Sing for Joy Kentish Town records tracks for CD under the direction of Carol Grimes
December
Sing for Joy Kentish Town launches Twelve Years Louder CD
Carol singing fundraising – Stoke Newington Church Street.

 

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