A CHOIR for people with Parkinson’s disease and their carers is raising its voice in the search for new members.

Chessel Chanters, based in the Chessel Bay area of the River Itchen between Northam Bridge and Woolston, is a group of singers all of whom have Parkinson’s disease or who are supporting someone with the condition.

The rehearsals are held on Tuesday afternoons in the scout hut in Rampart Road and are joyful and uplifting occasions.

Singing is great for people with Parkinson’s as it helps with breathing, rhythm, voice volume and concentration. It also helps the body to release endorphins which make you feel good.

What’s more, the environment encourages people to forget any medical issues and just have a good old sing, because everyone in the room understands what it is like to live with Parkinsons.

The group warms up with specific body, breath and vocal exercises, and lots of laughter, before practicing songs to perform, often in three-part harmony.

They will be joining up with other choirs to perform at Music in the City in October.

Supported by the Solent Early Onset branch of Parkinson’s UK, the group regularly performs. Their next performance is at Bitterne Library on Saturday, August 19 at 1.30pm.

Chessel Chanters are led by Pauline McWilliams who has received specialist training in Singing for Parkinsons from Canterbury University, the UK leaders in this field.

Choir member Colin said: “I felt apprehensive to walk through the door that first day. I didn’t know what to expect but everyone is friendly and we support each other. It is great fun and I always go home feeling on top of the world!”

Chessel Chanters welcome new members with no audition. No experience or ability to read music needed. Contact Pauline McWilliams on 07548 128216 for more information.