Joy Makes Us Strong“Laughter.”

These words do not usually come to mind when thinking of life with a chronic, degenerative illness like Parkinson’s disease (PD). But these are some of the words that the Tremble Clefs choral group, made up of people with Parkinson’s and their care partners, chose to describe what singing together every week means to them. Singers held up signs with these and other inspiring words during their spring concert at JF&CS on May 19.

The Tremble Clefs choral group was created in 2006 by Marilyn and Dale Okonow and Nancy Mazonson as part of the Parkinson’s Family Support program. The choral group’s name comes from the signature “tremble” of Parkinson’s disease and reflects the group’s determination to face adversity with openness and creativity.

One of the words held up at the concert was “community.” This aspect of the Tremble Clefs was vividly evoked by singer Priscilla Elliott’s introduction to the concert. The concert was dedicated to her husband Clark Elliott, a longtime member of the Tremble Clefs who passed away in February. Priscilla described Clark’s brief “escape” from the hospital to attend a Tremble Clefs concert in 2010, saying that participating in the concert was necessary for his emotional health. The audience shared a laugh as she explained that it was a challenge to get him into his concert attire with the hospital bracelet attached to his wrist, but that Clark was determined.

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