Friday, November 27, 2009

Attention from Right, Left and Centre

While returning from a business trip to the Taranaki region on Wednesday, I received a cellphone message from Ronnie, one of the activities people at Hilda Ross. She was telling me that the Waikato Times (local newspaper) was coming the next day to take photographs of the Glee Club. I made a personal note to make sure that my appearance was not my usual rushed scruffy self.

I had a morning of meetings the next day and during one of the meetings I got a txt message from Ronnie asking me to urgently call the reporter who had interviewed the Glee Club participants the day before, which I did, gave him some more background information about what has happened in the last year, and found out what it was all about. We are to feature in the 'where are they now' column of the paper. A year ago they published an article about the release of our c.d., it will be interesting how much page space we will get in tomorrow's paper. I have also found out that the c.d. is still slowly selling from the front desk at Hilda Ross!!

In addition, urgent messages were going back and forth about information and photos for the Hamilton Summer Gardens Summer Festival promotional material. I had passed this request onto the women of the Rotokaiuri Tuis and followed the emails to find out that their photos were too low in resolution. So I asked if any of the Glee Club had a camera with good resolution and Marie went and got hers. At the end of rehearsal, (after Times photos and all) I ask the men to grab two women and find a neutral background. What a delightful scrabble, and such fun! I took photos of three trios all on different background with her camera, and then asked Harry to process it all while I went and worked with the Rest Home Singers. Harry is as close to 80 as you can be without being 80, (but I can't tell you his age.) He took Marie's camera, downloaded the photos to his computer, put them in a folder and then loaded the folder onto my 4BG memory stick, and brought it to me in the Rest Home Lounge. With the advances to this Blog site I can share with you the photos that I sent in.

Here is Harry the computer whiz, Ngaire my good friend and drinking buddy, and Elizabeth who is my associate music director.

Here is Bob, one of the newest members of the Glee Club, Betty whose husband Noel has been called the mayor, and who also worked on my kitchen 12 years ago, and Brenda who is the Glee Club librarian.

Here is Allison a newer member of Glee Club, Alex who has been Glee Club member since the beginning of the year, and Pauline who has been in Glee Club since it started.

I will be very interested in reading what they told the reporter in my absence :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Intergernational concert preparation underway

I met with Suzanne and Kara, the conductors of the Rotokauri Tuis (childrens' choir) on Tuesday, and we mapped out the concert which will be performed on Friday February 26th. Both choirs will sing together for six songs, and then each choir will perform two sets of songs. The Tuis will do one set of songs with their whole choir and another set with a smaller group of the senior singers, who are working on singing in parts.

Yesterday (Thursday October 22nd) I told the Glee Club about the plans for the concert. I taught them the chorus of the Kiwi Kids' Theme song, I gave them the 'When I'm 64' lyrics to work on rewriting. The Tuis will sing the original version of the song, the Glee Club will sing their version of the song. I gave Glee Club the Tui's new words to the ABBA song Honey Honey, which has turned it into a love of the product, very cleverly.

I sent an email to the Garden's Festival organiser about date, time and venue for the concert. It appears that we will have the venue we want, the Pavilion, an inside venue where the Glee Club will be able to sit for most (for some) or all (for some) of the concert. The organiser had envisaged the concert being held outside on a lawn, and that would have required amplification, chairs, etc. Watch this space, I am still thinking about how we might merge our concepts.

I have put a post on the AIRS project, a request for help about how to record this event in relation to the outcomes for both sets of participants for this process. AIRS stands for Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing. It is an exciting concept, but doesn't appear to be very active as yet. I have also joined an Ethnographic research group here in the School of Education, and will be asking them for their learned opinions as well. Furthermore I will be talking to my colleague Professor Peggy Koopman-Boyden who has been a gerontologist for some decades, and picking her brains.

In the meantime, I go next Tuesday to work vocally with the senior singers at Rotokauri (ages 10 & 11) (a whole new way of using senior!!)and start talking with them about the project. I will continue to work with Glee Club, which now has 31 singers!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 1st

What a busy four weeks it has been for me, with additional classes to teach, and additional admin to see to. The Celebrating Age group did not happen, due to lack of interest. One person turned up the first time, nobody turned up the second time, and one person turned up the third time. It is either the wrong day, or time of day, or perhaps the wrong time of year.

However the Hilda Ross Glee Club is growing by leaps and bounds. I held a 'come and talk to me' meeting to which all of the villa residents were invited. Five members of Glee Club were at the meeting, and they answered questions, while I gave quotes about the researched benefits of singing. One of the delightful pieces of feedback that has occurred is that some people think that they are not good enough now that the Glee Club sound so good. As a result we had six new people join us, and our roll is now 26, with 6 men!!

Alex and Tui and Brian accompanied me as I went to have an interview on Hamilton Community radio. Initially I was going to have 45 minutes, but then it was just over 20 minutes, so the interview with me turned into an interview about this research and the Hilda Ross Glee Club, and went very well according to those who listened. I will try to get a sound file onto this site for you to listen to the interview, if interested. I could put a link to the radio station, but given that I am the last 20+ minutes of a 2-hr recording, I don't think that is practicable.

There has been an interesting comparison for me the last two weeks. With school holidays, sickness, and grandparent responsibilities, I have had a fairly high absency rate at Hamilton Chorale Rehearsals, such that I have more people at Glee Club than I do at Chorale, for now!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Celebrating Age Singing Group

On September 10th a new singing group will be starting, based at the Celebrating Age Centre on Victoria Street in Hamilton, New Zealand. I cannot tell you what it will be called as the participants will decide that. They will also decide what style of music they will sing, and how they will be accompanied. The only conditions are that they are at least 60 years of age, and that they want to sing, whether they think they can or not. I also hope that the group will take themselves, i.e. leadership will come from within the group. I want to have a mentoring role, and also be able to research the group.

This morning (and yesterday morning) at 7:30 a.m. I met with a group of nearly 30 of our MMP students here at the University (mixed media presentation).(there are 126 in the whole group) They do most of their learning via computer, and are here on campus this week for an arts intensive, with lessons in dance, drama music and visual art for 6 hrs for each Arts discipline. This singing session was added on to an already full programme, but they came!

Last time they were on campus I had some voluntary singing sessions with the whole group, and got the message that some lacked either confidence, or thought that they could not sing. These students, who self-selected, made up this morning group. Do I need to write that of course they can sing, and they did sing, and as a group made a really nice sound. Average age probably late 30s. Two 25-minute sessions will not change decades of lack of self belief in singing ability, but they have started, and they have heard what they can do. It is certain that everybody can sing!! I do not mean singing solos, in the same way that if you can write you don't have to write novels or poems. The new group at Celebrating Age will be founded on that knowledge.

Hilda Ross Glee Club performances

On  August 19th the Glee Club presented two performances, one at the Salvation Army Day programme, and one at the University of Waikato, as part of the 12@12 weekly performance programme. Then we took ourselves over to The Station, where we had lunch at reserved tables, a most pleasant and busy day.

The day before (August 18th) I had been to the Hilda Ross complex and talked with a group of about 15 people who were interested in joining the Glee Club. Conversation had occured saying that people thought thay they were not good enough so didn't come and join, so some of the Glee Club people told the visitors how much fun they had, and how much better they felt when they sing, and why they wouldn't miss practise, unless they really had to. This was very encouraging, and it will be interesting to see how many new members there will be at this week's practice.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Summary of my current position

Today, during a programme called 'Research Bites' I presented my current position after all of the discoveries and discussion of the past two weeks. I shared the findings out of the Singing and Health report from the Sidney de Haan Centre, which reflected much of my own findings, from open-ended-question surveys that I have been using with my groups up until now.

I now have three sets of data that I will be collecting.

Data 1
I am now in the position of getting 'critical mass' with thirteen groups of people with participants over age 60 filling out the following questionnaire between now and the end of the year, potentially up to 200 people.

  1. How does singing in *** influence your health?
  2. How does singing in *** influence your sense of wellbeing?
  3. How does singing in *** influence your quality of life?
Data 2
I have collected a second set of blood pressure data from the Hilda Ross Glee Club and this will grow into a longditudinal set of data with individual people's data as well as the collective data.

Data 3
I am working in the intergenerational setting with the Glee Club and the Rotokairu Tuis for a concert in the Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival in February 2010. Having made links with the AIRS project I will be looking at research guidance from the intergenerational group there, along with the Sidney de Haan centre faculty. This project starts in mid September.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Forward Planning

What a difference a week makes!!

I had a most informative and enjoyable conversation with Professor Stephen Clift on Friday afternoon. He sent me links to many things that they are doing from, and in, the Sidney de Haan Centre. He has agreed to be my mentor, and so my publication record is going to grow greatly in the next two years, since I can now have feedback from someone working in the same field, before I submit for publication.

Stephen put me onto the AIRS project (Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing) and I have applied to join. This is an international consortium of people, who are all working on the same area. As I have said to friends, I have not be so excited in a long time.

The AIRS project

What became clear in talking to Stephen is that we are working on the same things, and that I am potentially at the 'cutting edge' of this big corpus of work. With the Hilda Ross Glee Club working with the Rotokaura Tuis (a choir of 50 girls from Rotokauri School aged 6 - 12) for a concert at the Hamilton Summer Gardens Festive in February 2010, I have an intergenerational prorgamme starting in about two months. The consortium will allow me to ask questions of anyone else who has done such programmes, and how I can collect usefual data on this, to contribute to the field.

The main and overwhelming feeling and sense I have is that I am no longer working alone, that what I am doing is becoming more and more important and valued in a global sense, and that I can be a significant part of that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stephen Clift

I am so excited!!! Stephen Clift, of the De Haan Centre has emailed me, with information about what they are doing, request for my material, and an outline of round table discussions that are being held in October to discuss, on different days, for 3 hrs each:
  1. Singing and mental health
  2. Singing and chronic lung disease (Elizabeth)
  3. Singing older people and dementia (some of my Glee Club)
  4. Singing and Parkinsons disease (Cecelia)
  5. Singing and the wellbeing of children and young people (My university students)
In brackets are the people in my experience and research that are relevant to the topics.

Various groups that are working in these populations with singing will be attending these round tables, so it will be participants as well as observers and researchers.

The partner organisation that is working with the De Haan centre is:

Sing for your life

who run over 50 Club sessions per month for older people across the South-East of England.
I am no longer alone in my research!!

It is now my intention to work towards having study leave in the second half of 2010 to go and spend that time based at the De Haan Centre, taking part in research, taking part in training, presenting my own research, learning about how to more effectively research and advocate.

It is about 9 months since I started this blog. My eldest son started me on this trajectory, working where my passion was, and I think that this link is the start of the next chapter in my work and my life. Thank you Matthew!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sidney de Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health

With some help from colleagues on Friday I found some very exciting new research, and an invaluable document for my work that has been produced by Stephen Clift, Grenville Hancox, Rosalia Staricoff and Christine Whitmore. I first met the names Clift and Hancox through research on self reported effects of singing in a choir with which they were working, see my post Oct 21st 2008. That research was reported in 2001, and the Sidney de Haan Centre was formed at Canterbury Christchurch University in England in 2004. Named after a man who received great personal enjoyment and benefit from music during his latter life, while suffering with vascular dementia. Sidney's son Roger supported Professors Hancox and Clift to set up the new research centre.

The document is entitled Singing and Health: Summary of a systematic Mapping and Review of Non-Clinical Research and can be found at:

Singing and Health Document

Go to this site and download the pdf document.

At the same site you will find another document that will interest singers:

Choral Singing, Wellbeing and Health: A cross-national survey

Thank you to these men, and their colleagues, and the passion that they have had for singing and its benefits!!

St Andrews Senior Singers

I was delighted to get an email from the manager of the St Andrews complex in Cambridge. I went to visit them on May 13th, and they have formed a group that is open to all retired people in Cambridge. With a population of around 15,000, and other choral groups in the town, it will be interesting to see how the group grows. I have been invited to use them for research which is excellent! They are being taken alternate weeks by two different people. It will be interesting to find out what effect this has. I surmise that the group dynamic will be stronger as the group will be the constant. I will plan to visit with them after they have been functioning for at least 10 weeks, which is about 8 weeks from now.

The wonderful Hilda Ross Glee Club

The members of the Glee Club are taking more and more ownership of the group. Once again, while I was away they all attended rehearsal. The commitment to the group is something that is now valued by the members, and they encourage each other in that as well as valuing it when they are together. Furthermore they are formally taking on roles within that. Harry has been already arranging indexes for the music so that those who have trouble finding their music, now have it numbered. He has reformatted pages which I have prepared that are also not user friendly, and when I sent the programme order through for the next concert, then activities person Marie took it to Harry and he typed it out, including the number of each song in the folder as well. Harry is now our administrator. Tui, one of my two blind singers is the contacts person. If I need to get a message out then Tui will do it for me. Elizabeth is the one who takes rehearsals when I am not there, and has introduced a new song to the Glee Club, which I will try to have little to do with. Elizabeth is the only one who uses her cellphone regularly so she will be the one I message, and she will pass things on to the right person to action.

Commitment to, and enjoyment of, Glee Club is sometimes shown in dramatic ways. When we sang at the Gerontology Conference in 2007, Glen discharged himself from hospital to come and sing with us. He was not well but he loved singing. He died partway through 2008. At our practise last Thursday Cecelia collapsed. We sit for our rehearsals, in chairs which wrap around the body. Initially I thought she was sleeping, and I roused her and found the place in her folder, but she then became unresponsive. We are fortunate to have Dr Alex in the Glee Club who told me what to do, we rang the bell and got her lying down on the floor, her blood pressure was well down. Her husband arrived, and said he knew that she shouldn't have come, she couldn't even talk to him when she left the apartment. Medics arrived, and we sort-of went on with our rehearsal. Cecelia regained consciousness, and I told her before she was taken off in a wheelchair that she had to look after herself so that she could sing, she smiled. Now that is some determination to sing!!


I thoroughly enjoyed the two conferences that I attended in Canterbury. July 3rd - 10th

The first was a Music Research Conference: The 31st Australia New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education (ANZARME) Conference held in Akaroa July 3rd - 6th. The format of the conference was excellent, we all listened to each other, but never for long enough, we had 15 minutes each and so many said 'have I run out already?' I presented a paper about the profile of Ageing New Zealanders, the government's Positive Ageing Strategy and its bias towards physical health and fitness outcomes, with less regard to other ways of both keeping fit and enhancing quality of life (singing), and current research on benefits of singing. I showed them a chart which showed the pre and post blood pressure of my Glee Club, taken before and after rehearsal the day before I left. I will try to put a pdf of this up for you to see, but in summary, the blood pressure in 11 out of 15 people mover closer to normal (being 120 over 80). People whose pressure was low came up and people whose pressure was up came down. It is far too small a sample to mean anything, but given that I had no idea what would happen, I find it significant and something to definitely continue to investigate. During my presentation I did a non-scientific study on the group of 40 people listening. At the beginning of my presentation I asked them to make a mark on the bottom of a page at the back of their pad (provided for us in the conference pack) indicating on a likert scale (left being low, right being high) their current sense of wellbeing. Towards the end of my presentation I put up the words of the first verse of Waltzing Matilda (in deference to the Australians) and they stood and sang with me, then sat and marked a page in front of the first, with their then current sense of wellbeing. Over 65% recorded improved sense, some recorded no change, and one recorded a lower sense (she was the next presenter)(N=40) . This paper will be written up to be published, and if there is a link I will post it here.

The second conference was the MENZA National Music Education Conference held in Christchurch. The keynote speakers were all very good value, with Dr Richard Letts for the Australian Music Council giving excellent advice about how we can better advocate for music at all levels in New Zealand. Professor Sam Leong for Hong Kong gave a provocative presentation on assessment, saying that teaching and learning and assessing should be three side of the same triangle.

My presentation to this conference was more ethnographic. I gave the attendants the results of three open-ended questions that I gave the Glee Club, asking them how Glee Club affected their health, feeling of well-being, and quality of life. I also played two video interviews that I conducted with participants, asking them why they sing in Glee Club, and what they think about our performing on and off site. There were not many who came to my presentation, I went and picked up my Dad, age 87 and he came to see me do my 'thing'. However, those who were there were all very interested and helpful in their comments and supportive of my ongoing work so I have people to bounce ideas off, and one person who is going to send me books that she no longer uses!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ageing and Society Masters paper

I handed in my last assignment today, asking myself over the last week as I have struggled with it why I keep doing papers. But the answer is simple, and two-fold. I wanted the knowledge, and I wanted to be accountable for the knowledge I was gaining. I have been grateful to Professor Bevan Grant who has been my lecturer in this course, as well as my colleague for the last fourteen years, as well as to my classmates, Leslie, Doreen and Steffi. We have learnt much about each other, and about the subject from each other as well.

It has also been intersting to tell my students about my study, and model for them the lifelong learner that I believe I am. I will tell you my grade when it comes through as well :-)

My final project was a profile of a person over the age of seventy. I choose Jean, who has become my friend at the Hilda Ross Rest Home. Jean is a highly intelligent, highly articulate, highly opinionated woman, who holds interesting conversations and is still very much a master of her own destiny. Having some health problems she nevertheless considers herself to be in quite good health. She is an avid reader, of newspapers and books, and is now learning to use a computer for the first time in her life. She turns 90 in November.

I shall have to show Jean this website so that she can follow my blog from now on.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pete and Beulah Mae

This delightful youtube clip was brought to my attention

Old Swingers Peter and Beulah Mae

I put up some comments in the response area regarding the ageist posts that others were making about how they could not be 'old' as they were too flexible, they were made up to look old etc. In reading through, I found a post from 'Pete's' daughter where she told that her father was dying his hair gray in order to appear old.

I then, in youtube, received an email from 'Pete' telling me his real name, and that he is age 70 and his wife is age 50, and they love dancing and have no intention of giving up for a long time to come.

I had my own ageist treatment a few weekends ago when a caring son came to 'organise' me. He and his wife were very kind in what they did, and I have appreciated the ongoing effects of that, but not the overarching impetus that I 'needed' fixing. I imagine this debate will be ongoing as my very competent and caring sons will always care for their widowed mother, but as I am yet to reach the age of 55, is it yet necessary?

You're only old once!

I have just acquired this book after seeing it in class. It is subtitled 'a book for obsolete children' and takes a man through the medical tests that are imposed upon him and then the "pillifcation" that he is left with. Here is the beginning of the two pages:

For your pill drill you'll go to room Six Sixty three,
where a voice will instruct you "Repeat after me
This small white pill is what I munch
at breakfast and right after lunch
I take the pill that's Kelley green
before each meal and in between.
These loganberry-colored pills
I take for early morning chills.
I take the pills with zebra stripes
to cure my early evening gripes......
finishing with
This long flat one is what I take
if I should die before I wake
A highly entertaining book for those being treated as old before their time

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A busy Wednesday

Wednesday May 13th was a very busy day. The Hilda Ross Glee Club performed at the University of Waikato in the 12@12 programme. This is a 12-plus minutes' performing Arts event in the School of Education. We performed 7 songs, including three from the new repertoire. The audience were most appreciative, and asked for an encore, even though one of the Glee Club members had given this away already. As I announced the last song, one of them said 'no, two more' the second being the one we had prepared for the encore. With much hilarity we were asked quite clearly to give an encore. A large portion of the audience were a group of early childhood educators, and some of them fell in love with Wally, age 91 and wanted to take him home. I told him this the next day at Glee Club rehearsal, and he was ready to go!!

From here the Glee Club move over to The Station which is a restaurant across the road from the part of the University where we performed. They had tables set for us, with tablecloths, cutlery, glasses, carafes of water and some printed version of their blackboard menu. This enabled those more ambulant to get food for the less ambulant.

I had to leave them promptly as I was heading to Cambridge to present to a residents' meeting about the Glee Club's programme at the Selwyn St Andrews complex . I was not clear exactly what was expected of me, so I took with me the printout of the latest survey that I had carried out with Glee Club. It turned out that I was speaking to residents to try and inspire them to start their own group. Their manager had heard me speak earlier in the year at the Bay of Plenty managers meeting. I have promised to help them get started, this is another 'watch this space'

The afternoon concluded with shared coffee with the visiting mental health doctor, who showed interest in the effects of singing from the aspect of those with mental health issues. I will await action in that area as well, as I understand an invitation to present to that group is coming up.

I have also been asked to review a book for the INsite journal, entitled 'connecting through music with people with Dementia'. The book arrived today, and I am enjoying reading it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

young@heart the New Zealand Story

I am probably using this title a bit out of time now, as it is a quite some time since the movie came out. However the Glee Club's journey has not be unlike that choir. I am collecting data all the time on them, having now obtained two video interviews, and planning to video interview all of the participants. I presented this project to colleagues last Friday here, at the University of Waikato, and my presentation engendered a good discussion about the sociological aspects of the research.

A strong message that came through the discussion was that I should be looking at presenting via an ethnological model, rather than a statistical model. I was asked what the prime aim of my research is, and the answer to that question is that I want to see valid, interactive, mutually respectful singing, that has an anticipation that the singing will improve, in as many settings as possible, given the growing evidence that it has such multiple effects for the people involved.

When the Glee Club were recently asked how being involved Glee Club influences their health, they replied:

77F Improved memory, breathing, clarity of diction
82M Improving it with breath control and lung ventilation
84F Helps me get out of the house, talk to other people and not think about myself. It has been a lifesaver for me.
78M An active mind and body does have health benefits
76F Good – helps with breathing, come away feeling great
75F Gives me a new lease of life
87F Its good for me; confidence is returning albeit slowly
69F It has certainly helped my asthma
85F To me it is as good as a tonic
77F The singing helps and improves my speech and my voice
69F Very beneficial – my breathing has improved and deepened since starting singing. I never imagined singing in a choir because of a chronic cough caused by Bronchiestasis which I have suffered from for 64 years.
78F Mentally and good for lungs for breathing
90M Very good.

that is just the tip of the iceberg. This gets more and more exiting the further I go!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Agewise Seminar: Social Connectedness for Older People

Yesterday I attended and spoke at the above conference. I was accompanied by Val and Val. There are three 'Val's in the Hilda Ross complex and they all now sing in Glee Club, which is great. I had a class to teach first thing and left half way through the class time to get to the conference. I left them to their own devices, preparing group performance for next Thursday for assessment so they had plenty to do. I collected the Vals from Hilda Ross, and got to the conference in time for the end of morning tea, and we were able to listen to two other presentations before it was my turn. I am pleased that I am technologically adept, and was able to link my own computer into the data display, and play the two video interviews that I could not play at the Bay of Plenty presentation. In addition I was able to include some of the data from my latest survey with the Glee Club; material to do with the effect of participation in Glee Club on health, feeling of wellbeing, and quality of life.

I have got more canny at getting them to fill the surveys out for me, I invited them to my home for lunch and all they had to bring was themselves and their survey completed. This was a delightful event, that happened March 27th and will be repeated. Next time the suggestion was that it would be pot luck and that suits me down to the ground :-)

The responses were once again very positive to my presentation, and each time I present I have added to the research that supports what I am finding. I am still amazed at the strength of the comments of the respondents to the simple act of singing. In discussion with Val and Val as we travelled, and in line with the responses to multiple surveys, I have come to the conclusion as to what a successful tutor in this setting needs to be:
  1. musically able, to play piano, or to have someone to play piano,
  2. to know about singing and how to get people to sing using their voices more effectively, i.e. improving,
  3. to be able to build mutually respectful relationships with the participants
  4. to have high expectations of the participants' capabilities
  5. to know how to have fun, to laugh and be free to laugh often

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ageing and Society HDCO501-09A(HAM)

This is the masters paper that I am now enrolled in, with four other classmates. We have had two 3-hr classes so far and handed in one assignment. I don't think my mark will be very good, as I was completely partisan about singing, but I will be very interested in the feedback that I get from the lecturer; Professor Bevan Grant who has been working in the area of Gerontology and physical activity for many years, with much involvement in the masters games. My fellow students are delightfully contrasting, with 25-yr-old Steffi from Taiwan, Doreen who has a lot of knowledge about policy and is around my own age, and Leslie who is a little younger, and is doing a counselling degree. Having typed those ageist comments, I will have to add this post to my third assignment which is about 'Images of Ageing'. I know Steffi is 25 because she told us, I have guestimated the other two women's ages by their appearance. It is amazing how much our personal stories inform our classes, and I see that continuing in such a way that we will be very familiar with each other, and already the friendship between us is growing. We have since been joined by Gabby also around age 25, who works for Sport Waikato, and runs fitness, and wellness sessions for goups and inviduals who are aged. She made a delightfully ageist remark in our last class, when she noted that the Anlene milk advert on tv had used an old woman, which she justified because she had wrinkles. The woman in Question was Alison Roe, marathon runner who is 50 yrs of age, but looks a lot younger, as you may be able to see yourself at this link. Allison Roe

Retirement VIllages Association Waikato/Bay of Plenty Managers Forum

Harry, his wife Kerry and Elizabeth and I set out for Bayswater Metlifecare last Thursday morning leading to a most interesting and enjoyable day. Because I currently spend little social time with the Glee Club, I know "scraps" about them. This trip with around 1 1/2 hrs driving each way was so informative and so enjoyable. Hearing about Harry's driving escapades, and how he had to get in good with Kerry's Mum so they could get married, such that towards the end of her life, Harry was the one she always remembered, not her own children. Harry and Kerry have their 55th wedding anniversary this week.

There were approximately 30 managers at the meeting, and I presented my findings to them, including many quotes from participants. Technology difficulties meant that I could not play two interviews that I had videoed with two other participants, but the conversation with Harry, Kerry and Elizabeth more than made up for that. I was fascinated to hear their responses to questions. The depth of their enjoyment of the singing programme in some ways surprised me. These are busy people, with many activities in their days, Harry has recently self-published a book about his experiences as a child prisoner of war in Indonesia. Yet both of them and Kerry as a non-participant all said that they start looking forward to the next rehearsal as soon as it is finished. Harry said that if he has to miss rehearsal, something is missing from his week. I is time for me to put together a new survey for the Glee Club and ask some of these questions in a setting where I get full responses. This work gets more and more exciting from every event!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Even more publicity!!

In looking on the Ryman Healthcare site I found the article linked below, which is gleaned from the newspaper article, and now appears on their website.

Ryman Healthcare article

The beginning of 2009

After teaching a summer school course in applied music, and going to catch up with my youngest grandson in Australia, I met up with the Glee Club for the first time last week, with three new members, including another man! On my Australian trip I picked on a digital video camera, with an in-built 30GB hard drive, which I will be able to use to collect more video data to include in this year's presentations.

My first presentation is on March 5th in Tauranga to the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Retirement Villages Assn Manager's forum. This was set up by John Collyns who is the Director of Retirment Villages Association. He contacted me soon after the article appeared in INsite, and with his own long background in choral singing, asked me to present to this meeting. I will be taking two of the Glee Club members with me, along with video material of the group in rehearsal, and perhaps some comments from those who do not go this time. I am interviewing the manager of the Ryman Healthcare Hilda Ross complex next week (Feb 25th) and her responses will be part of my March presentation.

My next presentation is on April 30th here in Hamilton, to the local Gerontology group. In July I present to the National Music Educators' Conference in Christchurch. I have also been invited to write an article about the Glee Club, their growing reputation, and the recently released c.d. for New Zealand Association of Gerontology national newsletter.

The Glee Club has been invited to perform at another retirement complex in Hamilton, Allandale. We are invited to take our c.d. to sell to the audience. The year is getting more and more involved for the Glee Club. It is both exciting and challenging.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Glee Club in local newspaper

The Waikato Times newspaper has published a feature article about the Glee Club's cd release. It is great to be able to get publicity during a quiet news time: the article appeared on January 15th 2009. The article was written by Arts reporter Ben Stanley, who came to the Hilda Ross complex and took photographs of the group in rehearsal, including one of his photos with the article, which was placed in the middle top of the page, taking about 1/4 of the page space. Very pleasing!!

Waikato Times article about Glee Club