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In April 2019 we started our new voice and singing activity for people with Parkinson’s, their carers and friends. We call ourselves the Bushlarks, singing and having fun in the Bush Capital.


Bushlarks 2

Who are the Bushlarks?

In April 2019 we started our new voice and singing activity for people with Parkinson’s, their carers and friends.  We call ourselves the Bushlarks, singing and having fun in the Bush Capital. Come and join us! It’s fun, it’s enjoyable, it’s therapeutic, it’s social,  and there’s no audition needed … just come along and give it a try! They say laughter is the best medicine, but singing is just as good!  And when we laugh AND sing, what could be better?

Parkinsons Signing 4 980x760

Why sing?

People with Parkinson’s commonly experience weakness in the various muscles used in speaking, whether respiration, voice production or lip and tongue control.  This can lead to difficulty with articulation, slurred speech, reduced volume and pitch, and breathy voice. Difficulty in swallowing is also common: it uses some of these same muscles.

Speech and swallowing difficulties affect quality of life

Communication is more difficult, and people with Parkinson’s often avoid situations which involve eating or drinking in public. Swallowing difficulties slow your eating, and conversation while eating can be difficult.

Singing is therapeutic

Singing is a form of exercise directed at these weakened muscles. It aims not only to improve speech and communication, but also to protect against some of the complications of swallowing by working the muscles involved with swallowing and respiratory control.

Singing improves quality of life

Improved breathing, communication and swallowing facilitate the socialising which is so important to quality of life. Singing is in itself a social activity, of course, so it helps new friendship groups to form.

Singing is inclusive

Everyone can join in: people with Parkinson’s, partners, carers, family and friends. It has everything: it’s fun, it’s therapeutic, everyone can participate, group size is no problem, and it helps you get to know other members of PACT. The more the merrier!

How one Bushlark described it …

I go to the Bushlarks choir sessions because:


I meet with other people who are similarly affected by Parkinsons’


Members of the group as a whole are understanding and accommodating and enthusiastically welcome newcomers

No good voice required

You don’t have to have a good voice – if you can make a noise you belong


The choir sings a broad range of music, much of it well-known, all of it well-liked and there are also exploratory ventures into a broad range of musical genres

No boring enterprise

This is no boring enterprise – it is stimulating, it is interesting and above all – it is great fun

Music experts

The Choirmaster has a broad and solid background in music, is full of fun but also exceptionally empathetic. Her soul is full of a passionate love of music which she is keen to impart and share with others

How do we join in?

The Bushlarks are being instructed and led by well-known Canberra musician Chrissie Shaw  If you would like more information please contact Chrissie and leave your name, phone number and email address. Chrissie will reply with more details!

WHERE:                 St. Simon’s Anglican Church,  Georgina Crescent, Kaleen

WHEN:                   Monday mornings (except public holidays) between 10am and 12 noon

COST:                     $10 per session (free for carers / partners).

CONTACT:            Sarahlouise Owens – email: [email protected]

Videos and references

Parkinson’s singing groups are a popular activity around the world.

For example, see:

a group from Snape Maltings in the UK..

and a few articles for starters …


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