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'Together In Song' chorus to present its first concert at Mercy Medical Center

Singers with dementia, chronic conditions to perform Monday

Mary Nurre provides accompaniment as Steve Nurre directs during the first practice of a new chorus at the Hallagan Education Center at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. The chorus will meet weekly in preparation for a November concert and brings together people with dementia, their caregivers and other volunteers. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Mary Nurre provides accompaniment as Steve Nurre directs during the first practice of a new chorus at the Hallagan Education Center at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. The chorus will meet weekly in preparation for a November concert and brings together people with dementia, their caregivers and other volunteers. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — A chorus formed for individuals with dementia and other chronic conditions will present its inaugural concert next week.

Together in Song will perform at 1 p.m. Monday in the Hallagan Education Center at Mercy Medical Center, 701 10th St. SE, Cedar Rapids.

The concert is free and open to the public.

The group was formed by the Family Caregiver Center of Mercy at Mercy Medical Center as an opportunity for individuals dealing with chronic conditions — such as cancer and dementia — as well as their caregivers and other volunteers.

The group has been rehearsing since September under the direction of Steve Nurre and his wife, Mary Nurre, as the accompanist.

Choruses for individuals with dementia are gaining in popularity across the country.

According to recent studies, musical aptitude and appreciation are among the longest-lasting abilities that dementia patients retain. Music has been found to stir up memories and encourage positive moods, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Over the past decade, there has been a growing body of research on the positive effects singing has on people who are battling dementia,” Steve Nurre said in a news release. “People who struggle with remembering names or dates can often recall song lyrics. I’m looking forward to seeing the positive effects this venture has both on the singers and the audience.”

Developing the chorus had been a longtime goal of Kathy Good, founder and executive director of the Family Caregiver Center. Her husband, David Good, who had died in 2015, was invited to join a local barbershop group after a diagnosis with Alzheimer’s.

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Participating in the barbershop group improved his quality of life in his last years, Good said, and she wanted to bring that to others.

“So I just knew somehow that what I saw there needed to happen here. And here it is,” Good said to The Gazette in September.

To learn more about Together in Song, contact the Family Caregivers Center of Mercy at (319) 550-2664 or emailfcgc@mercycare.org.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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