Performance Today Features

When speech falters, singing begins

Tom and Julie Allen hold hands as they return to their seats after singing a duet Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 during a Giving Voice choir rehearsal at MacPhail Center for the Arts in Minneapolis. Julie Allen has Alzheimer's disease and her husband Tom is caring for her.Jennifer Simonson / MPR News

October 13, 2017

When a dementia or stroke limits one's ability to speak, singing in a choir can restore voice and build new social connections.

On Performance Today, we profiled two of these ensembles. The Giving Voice Chorus began in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. It brings together people living with Alzheimer's or other dementias and their caregivers for weekly choir practice. The group gives a public concert multiple times each year.

Stroke-a-Chord is an ensemble just outside Melbourne, Australia. The singers in this group are all affected by aphasia, a language disorder commonly brought on by a stroke.