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Silver Sing 2016

What is the Silver

The Festival of Choirs started in 2012 in Wellington. The musical director of the Festival Dr Julie-Jackson-Gough came with the idea of a way to offer the residents at Hilda Ross and Forrest Lake Gardens a new challenge. They’d been performing at the Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival for five years by this stage, and it was time to step out and test their skills on a national stage. The event was a success with over 600 people in attendance, young and old.


We took the learning from this event and in 2016 we’ll be holding the second Silver Sing in Auckland. The format will change from 2 days to 1, and the scope expanded to include rest home participation with the The Big Silver Sing.


So tell your team now, forward our email and let us know if you think you’ll attend by emailing us, or posting your details.


•    Showcase Aged Care Residents Talents.

•    Showcase Growing Older while enjoying life.

•    Showcase resident centred activities for carers.

•    Integration of cultural music reprehensive of our society.

*    Showcase inter-generational bonds and build family values.

*    Showcase what Auckland has to offer


We are offering participation for anyone that Sings in your facility. The Big Silver Sing is for everyone. The festival of choirs is for Independent Living Choirs to perform. The day is broken into a morning session and afternoon session to allow for day trips for groups with shorter attention spans.


Over the next five months, we’ll keep you informed of the monthly activity plan. We hope you’ll join us.





The benefits of choral singing for older people are well-known. Established choirs in retirement villages report that the members have improved breathing and posture, improved mental activity and alertness, a greater level of energy, a stronger sense of community and ongoing residual enjoyment. Singing is pleasurable, it “defrags” the brain and leads to a demonstrable improvement in residents’ quality of life.



In 2013, the event in was held in Wellington. The Bay Audiology RVA Festival of Choirs was held over two days and attended by nearly 700 people. Now, with the learning from this event we’re condensing this into a single day event and bringing it to Auckland to make it more accessible for a wider range of participants. In order to make this happen, we want you to get involved.


Why Singing?

According to Daphne Rickson, a Senior Lecturer in Music Therapy at the NZ School of Music, music contributes to positive ageing by providing ways for people to maintain positive self-esteem, feel competent, independent and avoid feelings of isolation or loneliness.


Singing also encourages a sense of belonging and provides opportunities for emotional expression. Ms Rickson notes that music, especially in the early stages of dementia, is particularly valuable because it is motivating and does not necessarily involve cogitative processing.

When is it?

Date: 2016


Time: TBA

The Concept


  • 15 choirs are representatives of retirement villages. Choir size is not important, provided all can travel. Choirs would be required to perform two parts (soprano, alto, tenor/bass) at some part of their performance.  

  • Each choir would find their way to the Vodafone events centre.

  • Buzz will be created by the Young @ Heart Choir during the opening. Also, ensuring guests arrive early.

  • Each choir would present up to 10 minutes of music plus get on and off within 15 minute's maximum.

  • All choirs would perform a specially-composed short piece by Dr Jackson-Gough as part of their Big Silver Sing.

  • Each choir would be responsible for providing their accompanist; the venue would include a piano.

  • The ‘judging’ would take each choir’s music choice, visual appearance, ensemble skills, presentation and standard of performance into account





Silver was founded to create a shared resource for activities co-ordinators, aged care providers, aged care assistants, residents, facility managers, to give anyone confidence to run a Glee club to improve people's lives. Please contact us for access to the resources we make available in the 'cloud' for you to download, so you can run a Silver Sing in your hometown, if you can't join us in Auckland.

Who will be involved?

When we ran the event in conjunction with the Retirement Villages Association, which represents nearly 300 member villages, we surveyed villages. From the survey, which represent 80% of the retirement villages in New Zealand, around 40% of the villages have some musical performance organisation.


Most of these, obviously enough, are choirs, but others include dancing troupes, bands, solo performers. The development of choirs in our villages mirror similar developments in retirement communities in other countries such as the well-known Young@Heart Chorus in the USA (now encouraging a similar chorus in this country). This also aligns with the latest research in person-centred care and alternative approaches to ageing.

What are the goals for this event?

The event will provide seniors with a goal to work towards, and a day activity which will bring together seniors, cultures and families to celebrate the arts. Ultimately we will run an event that will bring together the best performers, showcase positive ageing and introduce and create a media event which will show the industry in a positive light.



Dr Julie Jackson-Gough (RVA Associate member, Harmonic Health) and the NZ Choral Federation are keen to develop a format for regional village choirs festival. Because of this all of the resources created in this project will be available for use under creative commons' and made available to the public.


If you would like more information on how to become a Sponsor for this amazing event, please click here.

How will the Silver Sing work?

We are engaging the numerous choirs and other performers in retirement villages in Auckland in a constructive manner to promote the benefits of retirement village living and harness the many benefits of encouraging choral singing among older people within Auckland.


  • In addition to the 15 choirs that will be selected to attend, we anticipate that semi-dependant singing groups from the same facility will also come to support the event.

  • Using Harmonic Health’s 8-80 framework, choirs will be encouraged to enter in conjunction with a primary school.

  • There will be a focus on encouraging Maori and a Pacific Island participation from villages in South Auckland.

  • The event will have The Big Silver Sing, repeating the model where everyone sings together at the conclusion of the event.


The Bay Audiology Festival of Choirs 2013

Photos from Summerset NZ Young@Heart Chorus facebook page.

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