Singing Out For Parkinson's UK

Hosted by Dame Esther Rantzen, Romsey Male Voice Choir’s next concert ‘Men & Magnificent Music’, featuring five male voice choirs, will be held in Romsey Abbey on 15 July as part of the Romsey Festival, and once more the concert will be in aid of Parkinson’s UK.

Parkinson’s Disease is a condition which has touched several RMVC singers, and none more so than chorister retired Totton GP Dr John Dracass who was diagnosed with the condition in 2011. Every hour someone in the UK receives this diagnosis and one in 500 people (one in 100 over the age of 60) suffer with it. As an ex GP John understands better than most just what that diagnosis means. When he realised his physical capabilities weren’t what they used to be, coupled with developing a slight shake in his left hand, he was referred for a brain scan, and this definitively confirmed what he had suspected.

However, John takes a positive view of his condition saying, “I’m not yet too affected, though my tremor can make, simple things like fumbling for my wallet at the till in the supermarket difficult, and frustrate other shoppers!”. At the same time, despite sometimes struggling to keep a grip on his music scores in rehearsals, John is very clear that being part of RMVC has been a huge help to him in managing at least one of the progressive symptoms he copes with day to day, explaining “A typical aspect of Parkinson’s is losing the power of the voice and its vocal range, but there’s extremely good evidence to show that regular singing minimises this particular symptom. After five years with RMVC I can testify to the benefits to my voice and also to the benefits that performing in concerts brings to my confidence, which can so easily be knocked back by a chronic condition with such visible symptoms. I feel fortunate to be part of a supportive and creative group of singers in RMVC and I’m delighted that we will be raising much needed funds through ‘Men & Magnificent Music’ for Parkinson’s UK. Although the disease can’t yet be cured, the major research commissioned by the charity into improved treatments such as new drugs, stem cell therapy and ultrasonic surgery will undoubtedly be vital for so many people in the future. I love singing and performing with RMVC, and to do this for such a good cause is a wonderful added bonus”.

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John Dracass