Monday, November 29, 2010

November 28th from Rome, Italy

It seems that such a lot has happened, in such a short time!! After seven farewell events in my final week at Waikato University (which was somewhat humbling), I left New Zealand on October 16th.

During the two and a half weeks that I was in the United States I visited two choirs from the New Horizons organisation: Paul Bruggemeier conducts the women's choir that rehearses at the Holy Cross Music Centre in Spokane, Washington State. This was such a fun visit, as the women were so welcoming and Paul and his wife Sue are docents at the Davenport Hotel In Spokane which is the most amazing place. Do visit the site if you are interested in beautiful buildings that have been lovingly restored at any expense. The choir is aged from later 50s to one member who was turning 90 the day after the rehearsal!

I returned to Seattle from Spokane, for my niece's wedding, and then flew to Washington DC and met up with Jeanne Kelly who runs the Encore Chorales which are nine choirs based around the Washington DC area. She is very busy with these choirs, including taking them en masse to the Kennedy Performing Arts Centre annually, for a concert. I sent her a thank you email after the visit, which included the following : I envy you the population to draw on for your chorales, but not the rush-hour traffic that goes with it :-) Jeanne spends up to 20 hrs a week driving from chorale to chorale, for rehearsals.

I have continued on my trip around the world, and am seeing and hearing such amazing things, including going to church in Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral.

The Hilda Ross Glee Club have the repertoire for our Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival concert on c.d. to learn while I am away, and I wil be back with them mid-January, and with the children early February, to put that concert together, and to enjoy some summer as well!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

More progress

My website is almost ready to go public. Note to others who decide to try and design their own web-page for the first time: How much is your time worth, and how much are you prepared to waste before asking for help????

I have a colleague who is a musician (we have played duo and dueling pianos together, on a number of occasions) who is also a web designer and he has done an excellent job for a very reasonable price. Tozan Delman is someone I would be very happy to recommend for this task.

My webpage address is and there you will be able to see about my company, about what I am offering, plus a link back to here to get updates on my activities.

I have a phone conference planned for next Tuesday with a retirement provider. Watch this space.....

On a more personal note, I have seven farewells planned for next week.
  1. My family are coming for the weekend from Auckland and New Plymouth to say goodbye
  2. My Arts colleagues here at the Faculty of Education, Waikato University are taking me out to lunch Monday
  3. My church homegroup is taking me out to dinner Tuesday night.
  4. I present my final performance at 12@12 Wednesday midday to colleagues and students
  5. My Faculty formal farewell is Wednesday afternoon 4:30
  6. The Hilda Ross Glee Club are taking me out for coffee after our final rehearsal next Thursday
  7. My final class next Friday are giving me a poroporoaki (formal farewell).
There is a bit of a sense of attending my own funeral. Why do we not say these things to each other at normal times, instead of waiting for special occasions??

Monday, September 20, 2010

The young@heart choir is coming to New Zealand!!

I opened up my Sunday Herald newspaper and this page jumped out at me!! How exciting and how frustrating because I won't be here! This choir is the epitome of how effective a singing programme can be for enhancing and enriching people's lives. The performances, the brain stimulation of learning and remembering words, the euphoria of going onto that stage, the camaraderie, the life experience of going places they would not go by themselves, the unity of purpose, the inevitable losses that come with working with people at the latter stages of their lives, and the emotional journeys that these engender. Such big experiences, such empowering life experiences. Congratulations to the Summerset company for taking this initiative

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Women in Leadership presentation

I was invited to be a keynote speaker at a recent day-conference here at the University of Waikato. The topic for the conference was "Finding your voice".

I think that there was an expectation that I would give them a good singing session, to fire off the endorphins and give them a light vocal exercise to start the afternoon session. However I valued the opportunity too much to just do that, and talked about the use of voice and what effect it has on how we are perceived. I illustrated, gave them exercises to do, did some singing (good speaking voices use the resonation that is used in singing) and took questions. Along the way much laughter, especially at some of my demonstrations. This is strategic, learning is significantly more effective, when people are having fun. I left promptly to go and take a singing session with the Rest Home at Hilda Ross, and then returned to the conference.

Margaret Wilson (ex politician, and now law professor here at Waikato University) chaired the session, and shared stories of how she used her voice when speaker of the house, to keep order. In summing up at the end of the day, she enlarged on that, re-enforcing all that I had said and done. At the post conference drinks time there were many people who wanted to talk to me about working with them, their team etc. I have subsequently had an email from an Associate Dean to come and talk with engineering students about use of voice. Unfortunately I am not available any of the times mentioned, but this is a whole new area where I have future possibilities.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

So many opportunities

I am now in negotiations with two retirement providers. I spoke with 60 final year MMP students (teacher trainees who do most of their study via the computer, but come on campus for block courses) yesterday about being available for: singing lessons, help with school choir, help with use of voice as teacher, face-to-face and via skype. I enjoyed socialising with them last night at the Sahara Tent, and had good conversations with interested students. My list of singing students for next year grows each month.

Today I go to speak at a Women in Leadership conference being held here at the University of Waikato. The Hilda Ross Glee Club is going to come and entertain at lunchtime, and then I am going to talk to the conference about use of voice, and I am sure the same things will come up with them as came up with the trainee teachers; how to preserve your voice, sound authoritative, affect display, and of course we will do some singing, because it will make them feeel good, and help them to remember my messages.

I am also going to talk with the professional studies people here in the Faculty of Education about me coming and guesting in one of the years of the student teacher's study, to give them these messages sooner. Anectodally, and from my own experience, so many of them do not understand how they sound, and how they can sound better, more effective, and be more aware of the tool that their use of voice is in the classroom.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I got the scholarship!!!

I have just received an email from Professor Roy Ernst telling me that I have been awarded one of the five US$2000 scholarships to visit New Horizons groups in the United States. I am very excited about this, more for the opportunity to link in with an organisation that is working in the same area, music with retired people to enrich their lives, but also for the money that will make my USA travel more comfortable.

It will certainly make my time in the USA more structured, but that is going to be great!
I will add to this post when I know more about my plans....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The end of my time at Waikato University is coming on fast

With just 8 weeks to go until I finish at the University of Waikato Faculty of Education, the end is in sight. My last day is October 15th and I leave New Zealand on October 16th, returning January 11th. Paperwork is out to two CEOs of retirement village providers, and phone calls and face-to-face meetings are anticipated in the next four weeks. I have a delightful young family who will be house sitting for me (and my cat), which is answered prayer as much for them as it is for me.

It is almost like attending one's own funeral at the University at present, with peers and students telling me what they think and what they will miss. I set up this time away from the Hamilton Chorale at the beginning of last year. They have told me not to find a nice man o'seas and not return. My response has been that the four grandchildren in this part of the world is a stronger pull than them.

I have nine singing students for next year, aiming for a total of twenty for February. I have twenty students from the current first-year teaching training group who want lessons now, so they will happen before the end of the semester, in groups. I enjoy teaching in groups, as it is not possible to hear changes in one's own voice, but hearing the effect of technique in other people's voices helps to affirm the change in one's own sound.

So: what does 2011 look like for me?

  1. Working with a retirement provider rolling out the Glee Club model into all of their villages, over a two-year period, leading to guaranteed high-quality outcomes for the participants, in addition to links with a local primary school choir, and publicity in the local press. This will involve recruiting skilled people to lead and accompany the Glee Clubs.
  2. Singing students, individually, and in groups. Face-to-face, and via the internet,with skype &/or video conferencing
  3. Working with school choirs and choir directors, face-to-face and at a distance, as with the singing students
  4. Working with other people in musical settings, e.g church singing, instrumental groups, beginning conductors.

Categories two to four is what I have been doing this year already in small ways, and I do not want to lose sight of this work, as it makes a difference.

But I am passionate about taking my model into more villages, because of the multitudinous benefits to the participants, and to the other residents of the villages in which the Glee Clubs now run.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Interview with Hilda Ross Manager

Today I went to interview the manager at Hilda Ross abut the Glee Club.

I asked her what she thought the effect of the Glee Club was in the village.

Her response was that she is fully supportive of the activity, and see the benefits to the participants as follows:
  • Enjoyment is evident
  • Companionship is apparent
  • Health benefits (breathing, posture, brain function)
  • A structured activity that they look forward to
  • Cognitive skills are enhanced, through learning music (and the right-left brain effect of engaging actively in music making)
  • The Hilda Ross Glee Club has a good profile in the wider Hamilton Community, which reflects well on the village
  • The residents always greatly enjoy the Glee Club concerts.

Hilda Ross Glee Club winter concert

Yesterday 30 singers came to rehearse and then put on a 45 minute concert for their friends and family. It was the first time we have had 30 at a concert. Although there are 31 on the roll, there are always people away, on vacation, or at a funeral, or in hospital. This time they were all there which was great!

We were also able to sing some of our songs with parts of the Glee Club, so the men sang a song by themselves, and in another song they sang a verse by themselves. At the beginning of another song How are things in Glocca Morra two of the women sang the first phrase, and two other women sang the second phrase, and then all of the women joined in for the main part of the song; it was lovely.

Once again those listening said that they sounded better than last time, they are going from strength to strength. Their vocal range is increasing, the women can easily sing up to the G an octave and a half above middle c, (but not too often). Some tell me that they mouth when they think it is too high, but invariably they join in when they see the women sitting either side singing the higher notes.

Mike Downey, one of the residents, very kindly took multiple video clips of the concert, which will be used in my presentation to the CEO of Ryman.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Business proposal

I have just spent the weekend with a very helpful business consultant who has managed to direct me in the right ways to put a proposal to Ryman Healthcare, for them to take on my Glee Club model for their company and to roll it out into all of their villages.

My points of difference, and my data over the last four years are strong, comparing well with their current exercise programme called Triple A, and the business plan is that they pay for outcomes rather than taking me on staff. My consultant is also willing to accompany me to the presentation to Ryman CEO, when it is ready to go and I have the appointment. He has suggested that I need to make it by mid-September, so that it can go through the company's decision-making in time to commence in February 2011.

My current conundrum is that I think I am going to be working even more next year than I have this year, but it will all be my choice, and it will all be in areas where there is room for exponential growth. Is this truly a problem? I think not.

Btw my clever business consultant is my son Matthew, and he truly amazes me with his knowledge and and perception, both of my business, and business practice.

Matt Jackson

Friday, July 2, 2010

Possibilities are multiplying!

On Thursday morning, July 1st I had a singing session with second-year MMP students (MMP stands for Mixed Media Presentation, and the students have a week on campus three times a year and do the rest of their learning online).

I gave them all one of my new business cards, and talked about what I am planning to do: retirement setting choirs, and singing lessons. The question came up about teaching singing via skype, and that is what I wanted to do about five years ago, but the technology was not up to it, so of course I said yes! From there it led to working with school choirs in country areas, where access to expertise is not possible, so the strands to my work for 2011 are getting more and more varied.

By the end of the weekend, the basics of my new business website will be up and running. To think that the first inkling of potential redundancy only arose a month ago leaves me breathless, so much has happened already!

Monday, June 28, 2010

From Bertram, aged 83

Bertram appears in the photo with Jessie. They are two of the three octegenarians in the Hamilton Chorale.

I am glad to report that you took special effort to convince me that I could sing in tune, and have taken discrete steps to ensure that I had a strong singer next to me. I have the highest regard for your musical and educational abilities, and knowledgeable friends confirm that under your leadership, Hamilton Chorale has improved its tone and musicality.

I have also been approached by the Eastside Singers, (where Bertram is also a member) who are a choir of retirees. They have been, up until now, conducted by one of their own. They want me to consider conducting and training them in 2011. Given the lead-up to that time, I am hoping that they will be able to apply for some funding to pay me a reasonable allowance for this weekly responsibility.

It also raises the prospect of growing the choir considerably, with getting some of the people from the over 60s group (see my post on April 1st 2010) who want to sing, to join. So many possibilities, it is continuing to be exciting!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Big changes in my life and work

What a difference a month makes.

I am taking voluntary redundancy from my position as senior lecturer here at the University of Waikato, effective from October 15th, which is the last day of the second semester of study. Our music education programme has been overstaffed, and given that I have had passions outside of my university work for some time, this is a good move for me.

I intend to travel at the end of this year, not least to the Sidney de Haan Centre, in Canterbury, England, where there are people with passions like me for the effects of singing on peoples' well-being.

My 2011 will look something like this:
I will take on singing students, who want to take responsibility for their own learning, who I see very two weeks, not weekly.

I will continue to work at Hilda Ross, in addition to completing my research work at Edmond Hillary Complex in Auckland. I will put a proposal to a major provider of retirement complexes, that they can have my exclusive services and programme. My son Matthew, who is an astute businessman, is going to help me with that side of things.

In the meantime, I will be publicising my move, getting the word out so that prospects will know that I am available.

Some have envied me, getting to follow my passion at this time of life. I feel excited about what the future holds. Watch this space :-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

A concert review

I am conductor and musical director of the Hamilton Chorale as I have mentioned before and we did our first 2010 concert series this last weekend.

Virgina Gallagher was invited to review the concert, by the editor of the Raglan website and this is her review:


Hamilton Chorale at Raglan Union Church, Saturday 1st May 2010

A small but enthusiastic crowd gathered at the Union Church on
Saturday 1st May for a concert by the Hamilton Chorale. Entitled
Celtic Weavings, the programme consisted of music with a Celtic theme.
The music was an interesting mix from Ireland, Scotland and Wales,
some of it well known, and other pieces new to the audience.

The opening bracket, under the heading ‘Call to Celebrate’ was bright
introductory music, John Peel and Comin’ Thro’ the Rye were
particularly memorable. In the next bracket ‘In Quiet Moments’ the
tempo was more relaxed and highlighted the choir’s versatility. Then
the audience was invited to participate, and soon all were joining in
with Loch Lomond and Annie Laurie.

The next bracket ‘Lassies and Laddies’ gave the different sections of
the choir a chance to come to the fore. In several numbers for ladies
voices only, the careful blending of three parts was a joy to listen
to. The men particularly enjoyed their solo numbers; in ‘The Star of
the County Down’ they kept up a cracking pace, much to the enjoyment
of the audience. More sing-along with slower numbers My Love is Like
a Red Red Rose and Danny Boy. Once again the audience sang with
gusto, although some of the higher notes were beyond some audience

The final bracket ‘The Old Country Calling’ reminded us that many in
the church that day have Celtic roots, and could relate to the
beautiful music that has become so well known in New Zealand. The
masterful arrangement of ‘I Know Where I’m Going’ was particularly
memorable, and the rousing ‘Molly Malone’ brought the most enjoyable
concert to an end.

Ably assisted by accompanist Elisabeth Murray, the conductor Julie
Jackson-Gough should be very pleased with this concert. She succeeded
in blending the 30 strong choir into a group that was a pleasure to
listen to. The imaginative addition of the ladies’ coloured scarves,
representing Scotland, Ireland and Wales, enhanced the Celtic theme.
It is a pity that more people did not come out in the chilly autumn
weather to hear this capable group of singers. Hopefully, they will
come to Raglan again to perform.

Virginia Gallagher

Monday, April 19, 2010

A special note from one of my Hamilton Chorale singers

Hello Julie
I need to let you know just how much I am enjoying being a new member of The Hamilton Chorale. I have wanted to join for some while, but due to other commitments have been unable to do so until this year. I can't wait to get there each week, then I am so 'high' when I get home I can't sleep. You are teaching me so much & that I am hugely grateful for, as I can then pass on this knowledge to a small group that I help out with at a retirement village. I have enjoyed singing for many years but felt that I was stuck and really not going anywhere, so you can imagine my joy at the wonderful things I am learning at each practice. I just feel thanks to your efforts that my voice is improving. Thank you so much.
Kind regards
Pat Simpson

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Singing for Continuing Education over 60's group

On Tuesday March 30th I went and took a 1-hr singing session with nearly 300 people in this group. I thought it went well, but asked for some formal feedback from the co-ordinator of the group. This is what Fiona Griffith sent to me:

Amazing ! Thought provoking! Interactive! Stimulating ! Entertaining! These are just a few of the words that spring to mind when reviewing the session “Singing keeps you healthy” lead by Julie Jackson- Gough.
The research was fascinating and with just sufficient background and balance necessary to inform the group of the experts' findings.
There are few sessions that we run where achieve 100% audience participation- however this was one. Julie’s sense of humour and the selection of a few well loved songs ensured that the group left the venue in noticeably high spirits.
The responses, feedback and words of praise to Julie are evidence of how well the lecture was received.
Learning in this session was fun and invigorating especially for the over 60’s group. And not one person fell asleep!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Project 2

The project that involves setting a choir up at the Ryman Healthcare Edmund Hillary Complex in Auckland is still waiting on an Auckland tutor. The advertisement that I sent for the graduate students at Auckland University to consider got stuck with a faculty member who was on leave. It has now been posted to the graduate student email list and they have until March 20th to respond to me.

In the meantime I am able to put more head-space into project three, which is my Hamilton Chorale, and sort out the May 2nd/3rd concerts in Raglan and Hamilton. They are on a Celtic theme, and we are having a lot of fun working out what some of colloquial words are in the songs. Having resident Scots and Irish helps, also those who go away to find out.

I have an article due on April 1st about the 8 - 80 concert project, so that will keep me busy until March 20th at least. It has made it easier that the writing up is not overlapping with the setting up of project 2.

The Choirs report on the amazing experience of the 8 - 80 Concert

I have held the two focus groups and the children and the Glee Club have all reported positively about the whole experience, including unanimously wanting to do it all again next year.

When I asked the girls, as a final question, if there was anything that they didn't like, it was the heat. Nothing to do with their buddies in the Glee Club:

here are some responses from the Rotokauri Tuis

"I enjoyed getting to know just one person in particular which made me feel comfortable any time I saw them.

“ They made me feel really comfortable, I enjoyed their kindness, and they were basically complimenting our singing every minute.”

"I enjoyed going to see where they lived, getting to know about them and about their lives"

when I asked the Tuis if they thought differently about older people now that the project is completed, they said:

“ They don’t sing like old people” “ I like how they were being kind”
“They’re really talented” “ I liked talking to my buddy and answering her questions”
“They sounded great singing” “ I liked hearing about their life and stuff, and about their place”
“ I Liked hearing the songs that they sang”

S0 what did the Glee Club think?

“Talking about the relationship between the children and us, it was the most wonderful experience, I enjoyed it immensely.”

“I think there was a remarkable rapport between the children and us, it was a most memorable experience for all concerned, the Tuis and us.”

“I thought that it would be chaotic, but in the end I found it to be quite something, to be matching our older voices with the young voices. I liked it”

“I thought it was a very profitable experience. I enjoyed seeing their conditions and them seeing us. I like the way the children adopted us and looked after us. One of them after the concert brought her mother to meet me.”

“I felt, at first, that it was going to be a bit of a shambles with the children so excited, and they were going to be, you know, dashing around madly with great excitement, but when it came to the actual time, they just pulled themselves into line. And I think their exuberance, really. We took up their exuberance with our singing”

“My personal opinion about going out to the school and singing with them, on the day we made the concert was: It helped me as far as breathing goes. I learned to breathe a little faster and better with the children, to keep up with the children. I found I was dropping back a bit in the slow state, so those children gave me a little bit of extra ‘oomph’, and nothing but delight in having them with me anyway”

I am receiving email responses from the parents, so that will be a future post.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

An amazing concert!!

Yesterday was the culmination of Project 1. The Hilda Ross Glee Club and the Rotokauri Tuis, performed together in the 8 - 80 concert as part of the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival. It was a very enjoyable event, as the audience swelled to nearly 500 people!! Given the venue, I am not sure how well the people at the back were able to hear the choirs, but the level of interest shown by the attendance is potentially indicative of people's interest in intergenerational activities.

Both choirs sang well, with one or two glitches, but they slid by with little notice. The technology worked on the whole, and we did manage to get them all together at the end of the concert. Our national anthem is sung in Maori and in English, and we used a backing track that had been prepared by our Ministry of Education for use in schools. Because there was about a 30-second haka in between the two versions of the anthem, the girls were able to come down off the stage and find their buddy and stand in front of them or on their chair, if the buddy was standing. The image above was taken during rehearsal. I was thrilled beyond words with the concert!!

So much to tell you.....

At the final combined rehearsal, it was hard to get to the singing. Just 13 of the Tuis arrived at the Hilda Ross complex, it is harder for them to get: transport, parents' permission, and time out of school. But the girls who were there made the most of it. They went and viewed one of the villas in the complex and one of the serviced apartments, to see how the Glee Club live. Then we rehearsed our combined pieces, to the delight of our fan club, which swelled for this practice. Manager of the complex, Wendy, came and saw what was happening with the combined group, and was instrumental in getting the head office to print us programmes, a total of 200, which I thought was optimistic :-)

I called in at the venue two days before the concert to see that the risers were there and where the power points were for the children's sound system, and for the keyboard for the Glee Club. To my dismay there was a flat stage, accessed by four steps at one side, which meant that having th Tuis move in with the Gee Club for some of their combined songs was no longer possible. In addition there was the problem of how they were to all be seen. It was one of those late-night light-bulb moments. I set up two rows of chairs on the stage area, and one row on the floor in front. The front row of girls on the floor stood on their chairs, the second row stood on the stage and the third row stood on their chairs. It all worked, except the back row was too far away from the middle row, so the chairs were turned around to back onto the middle row, the girls stood on these to sing, and then had to 'perch' when the Glee Club did their own items, They coped remarkably well!!

The Festival organiser Sarah Beattie, did a sterling job. Helping with setting up the staging for the two choirs and then setting out the audience chairs. I don't know how it happened, but as people arrived, more chairs arrived. The helpers at the Festival are mostly volunteers, and they were fantastic! Chairs set out, and then after the concert, the chairs were all stacked and put away again, probably within 30 minutes of the concert concluding.

This coming week I will hold three focus groups: with the Tuis, with the Glee Club, and with parents of the Tuis, to see what they have said at home about the experience. I have a sense of regret now that the performance has happened.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A week to Concert

What a year it has been so far. Summer school went very well, with high positive assessment from the students on both the course and my teaching.

Project One
I met the Glee Club for their first rehearsal of the year on January 28th. and then spent ten days in Brisbane catching up with my grandson and his parents.

Today is the final combined rehearsal of the two choirs, and the children have their special friends now in the Glee Club. During these rehearsals there has been more a sense of the two choirs singing as one, rather than two choirs singing the same song. The children are gaining some of the resonance of the older singers, and the Glee Club are gaining some of the brighter tone from the children.

Tomorrow is my final rehearsal with the Rotokauri Tuis, they will rehearse more with their tutor Susanne. Glee Club will have two more rehearsals. Then we all meet at the venue at 2:00p.m. Friday, to walk through the concert, feel the acoustic by singing in the space, finalise our staging in situ, and hopefully have some time to relax before the concert commences.

Next week I will conduct focus groups with each choir, and with willing parents of the children's choir, getting feedback about what the participants have gained from this musical experience, and then get it written up and submitted for publication!!

Project Two
The contract with Ryman Healthcare is verbally agreed, and now awaiting documents to sign. Advertising has gone out to Auckland University Music Education department, and the Auckland members of NEWZATS, inviting extessions of interest to tutor the group at the Edmund Hillary Complex in Remuera.

I will
  • Go and talk with the residents. and the staff, about the project.
  • Get them to give ethical approval for their medical data, such as blood pressure, oxygen uptake, breath capacity, be relased to me for a before and after measure
  • Get them to find someone in the village who cn be their research 'buddy' who will not be part of th singing programme, who will alos agree to the medical data being available.
  • Go to their first rehearsal, introduce their tutor, and provide the initial repertoire.
  • Visit with them at rehearsal every two months, giving encouragement, and making suggestions, including looking for leadership to emerge within the resident group
  • Return in November to collect post-data, as well as questionnaires that they have filled out for me, and conduct a focus group where we can dialogue about the project.
  • Write up the project, both for Ryman Healthcare, and for publication.
Project three
Hamilton Chorale commenced rehearsal two weeks ago, and are well into the preparation for the Celtic Connections Concert. Planned dates for this concert are May 2nd in Raglan and May 3rd in Hamilton.
Members are sourcing some dancers who would like to come and guest at this concert.

Other exciting news for Chorale is that well-known New Zealand composer David Hamilton has ageed to write a piece for us for our second concert, the them of which is: Around the World in 80 minutes

The year is well underway!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year and what a year it is going to be!!

It is January 1st 2010, and I have fortunately had a very relaxing Christmas break time. I teach Summer School in Tauranga January 11 - 22, which will be intense, but also very rewarding. Then:....

Project One
I am now doing final preparation for the upcoming 8 to 80 concert, which is occurring during the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival. I am going to need to prepare cds for Glee Club to learn music, as I have a trip of 10 days to Australia during our preparation time for the concert on February 26th. Primary schools are back in after the summer on February 2nd , and we will need to have at least three rehearsals with the girls and the adults together, possibly one just getting to know each other and singing for each other, so that the girls especially will be aware of how well the Glee Club can sing.

None of our photos were used for the brochure, and that is fine. For future occasions we will be proactive and make sure that we have images of high enough definition to be used for such events.
The Festival programme can be viewed here. Click on February 26th and you will see the concert advertised.

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival

Project Two
I have had verbal agreement from Ryman Health that they will fund a year-long programme in their Edmund Hillary Village in Auckland, under my direction. I will visit the village and recruit people into the 'choir'. I will advertise and 'audition' a prospective leader for the group. I will share the programme guidelines with that person, and be available to help with repertoire, music etc. I will set up the clinical measures to be taken prior to the group commencing, and endeavour to match each participant to a non-participant in the village so that we have a comparison group. I will ensure that group participants are recruited to take on various leadership roles.I will visit the group monthly and then bi-monthy to offer encouragement and any other help, suggestions or arrangements that are appropriate.

My eldest son, who is a businessman, is advising me in the negotiations for this so that the best outcomes happen: for Ryman Health, for the participants at Edmund Hillary Retirement Complex, and for my ongoing work in this field, which is currently unique in New Zealand.

Project three
I must not forget my community choir, the Hamilton Chorale, as rehearsals commence again with them on February 10th and they need a new repertoire. The theme for the first concert is Celtic Music, which will definitely be fun!

My Mentors
I am grateful to have appointments next week with both of my two mentors: Professor Bevan Grant, who was my professor in my masters paper during the first semester 2009, and has been working in the gerontology field for decades, and Professor Stephen Clift of the Sidney de Haan Centre in England. I have spoken of Stephen before. As stated on the centre's website: "the primary aim of the Sidney de Haan Research Centre is to promote the value of Music and the arts for the wellbeing and health of individuals and communities."

Sidney de Haan Research Centre