Meet the Edward’s Encore Ringers, a group that’s doing more than just making music. The chime choir serves as a way to connect with others who suffer from chronic medical challenges.
“There are a lot of mundane things you do when you’re on a regimen of therapy or your life has changed a great deal and there have been a lot of losses,” said Judy Smith, a member of the Edward’s Encore Ringers and Bob’s wife.
Judy’s husband Bob knows this first hand. After he suffered a stroke in 2008, Judy wanted to find a different way to help his recovery. She started the chime choir as a creative way to help strengthen his mind and body.
“It’s all about using both sides of the brain and using the motor skills,” said Sheri Krug, Director of the Edward’s Encore Ringers and Music Therapist. “So stroke usually affects one side or the other, being able to strengthen that side but also cross over, music has always been a cross over with both sides of the brain. So stroke choir enables patients to be able to use their brains, be thinking, singing which is talking and moving their motor all at the same time, which is the best source of exercise for their recovery.”
Three years later, the group has struck a chord with people who suffer from other medical issues, such as cancer and heart disease who can also benefit from this therapeutic technique.
After attending weekly sessions, Bob’s setbacks have improved, but even more rewarding is the sense of support felt throughout the group.
“Thursday night chime choir is one activity he never wants to miss,” said Judy. “It’s a meaningful time for him to express and connect and he feels like he’s providing something for someone else too because it’s just a good interaction.
Others have reaped the same benefits that come with music therapy, which include: strengthening focus, motor planning, coordination and even regaining the ability to speak.
“I couldn’t talk at all, I couldn’t read at all, and reading music at all, so all were intellectual process or a physical process, that has been restored gradually and with care,” said Norma Lyon, Stroke Survivor and member of Edward’s Encore Ringers.
“This has been a wonderful addition to our lives and an enrichment and like we’ve talked about, we would not have met these people before, we would not have done these things before, and they’re really all blessings, they’re really a wonderful way to reach out and also enrich our lives and each others lives,” said Judy.
Edward’s Encore Ringers are always looking for more people to join the group regardless of the reason. They meet Thursday’s at 5 p.m. in the lobby of the Edward Heart Hospital.
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