Headway Thames Valley, based at Brunner Hall, Greys Road Henley hosted their annual Spring Concert this week on Wednesday. The concert featured the Headway Thames Valley Choir and the Reading Male Voice Choir each singing a variety of songs including The Rose, Here Comes the Sun, I Got Rhythm and the Rhythm of Life. Mike Terney and his guitar also treated the audience to a few songs at the concert.
The Headway Thames Valley Choir practices weekly and is available to clients who have acquired brain injuries, with 13 members singing in the concert. It is part of their music therapy programme partly funded by grants from Henley Town Council. These grants help to fund Music Therapist Eleanor Braganza, who regularly comes to the centre in Henley to spend time with the clients.
Music Therapy supports roughly 30 people with acquired brain injuries one day a week at Headway’s Rehabilitation and Activity Centre in Henley. Music Therapy comes in the form of 1:1 sessions, small groups playing instruments and the choir. In the last year, Headway have delivered over 700 hours of Music Therapy, helping clients improve their memory, speech and attention, as well as reducing anxiety and helping with coordination.
Martin Brown (pictured below), a client at Headway and a member of the choir, discovered he could sing whilst doing some physio at the centre during one of the choir practice sessions. He said, “I enjoy singing with the choir. We are able to pick songs that we like and that mean something to us and then we practice them together before performing them at these concerts.”
During music therapy sessions, clients are able to use this time to talk openly with each other, share their problems and offer each other advice and support.
Marie Finch (pictured above), Headway Resource Centre Supervisor said, ‘The charity has been here supporting people for about 30 years. We currently have music therapy and choir practice on a Wednesday and art therapy on a Monday. I’ve been lucky enough to listen to a lot of their rehearsals, but the choir sounded even better today! We are trying to start up new groups which are based around the hobbies and interests of our clients. Martin for example expressed an interest in photography, so we are hoping to start a photography group soon.”
Headway will be doing another concert at Christmas time, as they do two concerts a year. Maja Rogalewski, Headway’s Client Services Coordinator, said “our spring concert has been a fantastic success with lots of people coming, it’s amazing that the Reading Male Voice Choir came, they were absolutely phenomenal!”
Zoe Lane, Fundraising Manager at Headway shared with the audience after the concert that, ‘the Reading Male Voice Choir raised about £1000 for Headway at one of their concerts, so we felt it would be lovely if they were able to come and perform with the Headway choir so they could hear and experience one another perform. It has been fantastic bringing the two choirs together today.’
Drinks and refreshments were served after the concert, and these were enjoyed in the sunshine.
For more information about Headway Thames Valley please visit their website http://headwaythamesvalley.org.uk/