Resounding Voices hosts concert, breaks stigma for people with dementia

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Resounding Voices is a community chorus for people with mild memory loss or dementia. As audience members saw Sunday at their quilt-themed concert, A Choral Quilt, the chorus proves that people with memory loss can have a full, rich life.

There was a crew of around 30 taking to the stage to sing and share songs, but also with something to prove.

“We are always able to learn,” said Director Suzy Johnson.

The choir is made up of singers with cognitive impairment and their caretakers. These duos are often wives and husbands like Harold Beckala. His wife has dementia.

“That was four years ago and I said, ‘We’re just not going to let this happen,” Beckala recalled.

Beckala and his wife have been in Resounding Voices for about one year. Since then, Beckala says his wife has gotten better.

“Meeting with the doctor…he’d never seen someone improve so much.”

Johnson along with physicians in the group say the music keeps certain parts of the brain sharp. And the community keeps people struggling with dementia from feeling isolated.

“It sharpens them. It makes them happier. It helps them connect with their loved one better. It might spur new memories. It might spark conversation,” Johnson said.

Performing publicly counteracts the stigma that exists for people with memory loss. Reinforcing that dementia doesn’t impact one’s ability to make a joyful noise.

“She lights up. Just lights up all over,” Beckala said of his wife.

Those interested in Resounding Voices can find more information on their website.