Posted by Marilyn Okonow
I couldn’t sleep at all last night. I was too busy singing all the Linda Ronstadt songs in my head that I used to perform. My sleeplessness was triggered by the news that one of my biggest idols and singers, Linda Ronstadt, age 67, has Parkinson’s disease and has tragically lost her voice. I knew every lyric, chord, inflection, and guitar solo of all of her biggest hits. The melodies of the songs she sang were simple and accessible, and the purity and strength of her voice were beyond compare. She was simply a petite dynamo.
I can understand how devastated she must be that she can no longer sing. I am currently the musical director of a choral group at Jewish Family & Children’s Service called the Tremble Clefs. This chorus is comprised of Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers. Each week as we sing, we concentrate on things like breath control, diction, phrasing, and dynamics. Our warm-ups are designed to address the difficulties that many Parkinson’s patients have in using their voices. In the words of Dan, a Tremble Clefs member, “Singing is possible with therapy and groups like Tremble Clefs – we’re living proof!”
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