Posted by Nancy Mazonson

parkinson's danceRecently the JF&CS Parkinson's Family Support program dance class hosted two inspiring visitors whose efforts are at the forefront of spreading the gospel about the impact that the arts can have on health. One visitor came from the Pacific coast and the other from across the pond in Liverpool, England.

Karen Hesley, one of the two visitors to our dance class, founded the first Tremble Clefs choral singing group for people with Parkinson's disease in Arizona years ago. She knew that combining the joy of singing with the vocal challenges of Parkinson's disease had the potential to treat the voice and the spirit. There are now 13 groups in North America. The JF&CS Tremble Clefs is the only choral group for people with Parkinson's disease in New England. Our choral conductor, maestro Marilyn Okonow, met with Karen after class, and we look forward to future collaboration.

Our other guest, Rachel Rogers, visited Boston on her Churchill Travelling Fellowship tour of programs offering performance and community arts practice for older adults. Rachel's next visits were to a Young At Heart choral rehearsal in Northampton, the Jacob's Pillow archives, and the Mark Morris Dance group and Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

During the support group discussion following the dance class, several dancers said that the JF&CS Parkinson's programming provides a place where they can be themselves and not feel judged because of their disease. One dancer called our programming a "safe harbor" in the storm of living life with Parkinson's disease.

We were delighted that our guests were able to experience our programming and meet the extraordinary people with Parkinson's disease who honor us with their participation.

nancy mazonsonNancy Mazonson has coordinated the Parkinson's Family Support program of JF&CS since its inception in September 2006. The program is a leading resource in the Boston area with its unique programs, including Parkinson's Dance, Adult Child and Care Partner support groups, and Tremble Clefs choral singing group. Prior to her work at JF&CS, Nancy worked extensively in inpatient and community-based rehabilitation settings, specializing in helping people with degenerative neurological conditions.