This year has been full of unexpected, wonderful surprises for Somerset Hills Harmony – and opportunities. While the world faced uncertainty, stress and concern, the chorus in northern-central New Jersey pressed forward with an innovative way to keep singing – the drive in rehearsal we call “Hot Rods and Harmony”. And then SHH’s leadership spread word about it through seminars and social media.
In our very first webinar we met a remarkable person – Dr. Gillian Velmer. Turns out she is a catalyst in creating an avenue for people living with aphasia to sing in a loving, nurturing and warm environment. In Sing Aphasia’s words, aphasia is “a communication disorder that results from brain injury in the left hemisphere in the brain.” The simple act of singing together connects people living with aphasia in a community and provides countless therapeutic benefits. Sing Aphasia in on the cusp of great international growth even during a pandemic!
Dr. Velmer was intrigued and impressed with the Hot Rods and Harmony presentation but struggled with the technical and financial investment it would take for her to bring the concept to her in-person Sing Aphasia gatherings, the ones that used to happen before the pandemic took hold. So we asked, “where in the world are you, maybe we can connect you with another group to collaborate.” “Bridgewater, New Jersey” she replied. A mere ten minutes or so from the parking lot where SHH was innovating the drive in rehearsals in partnership with the Hunterdon Harmonizers. It was a no-brainer – Sing Aphasia was invited to rehearse in the parking lot using the equipment and technical team that SHH and the Harmonizers use, free of charge.
Of all the things that SHH and the Hunterdon Harmonizers appeared to lose in the early days of the pandemic, outreach to our community was a hard one to accept. There would be no concerts, no performances for people in need of some harmony in their life, no fundraisers for deserving groups. The simple email from Dr. Velmer changed all of that and opened a brilliant new way of sharing harmony with people that thrive on singing as a core element of their being. This newfound partnership will certainly outlast the pandemic and these three singing organizations will continue to find new ways to share in the joy and healing power of music, no matter what the world has in store. Music and harmony will prevail over all obstacles.
Sing Aphasia recently shared a video of heartfelt thanks for the gesture of outreach – it was all of the appreciation anyone could hope for. Hearing the voices and seeing the faces of the Sing Aphasia choir fills our hearts to overflowing. Please enjoy this video, as well as their amazing international collaboration “What a Wonderful World” and please share the message of Sing Aphasia’s mission to connect people with aphasia in a wonderful world of singing.
Watch Sing Aphasia’s “Just Sing A Song” video of thanks here: https://fb.watch/2rnzdzmPqy/
Watch the AMAZING “What a Wonderful World” video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty93jpQ2UCo
Learn more about Somerset Hills Harmony: www.shhchorus.org
Learn more about Sing Aphasia: www.singaphasia.com