They call their aphasia choir The Mumbles – a band of people with an acquired brain injury that has affected their speech.
It was choir member John Hall’s suggestion. There is an area in the town Mr Hall hails from in Wales called The Mumbles, and he thought it seemed an appropriate name for the choir.
He made the choir matching t-shirts.
Art is Mr Hall’s way of expressing his experience after a stroke almost five years ago.
“It was really weird...I couldn’t speak but inside my head my thoughts were going ok,” Mr Hall said. “Mine is an ongoing story and the art stuff keeps evolving.”
A builder at the time, Mr Hall had been nearing retirement when he had a stroke. He had been working on a house and felt a bit weary and next thing he realised, was on the floor. Nobody was about but Mr Hall said a lady found him later.
Mr Hall spent most of his immediate recovery in Ballarat Health Services’ Queen Elizabeth Centre where he learned to read and speak again. That was where he joined the choir with a bunch of people he might not have ordinarily met, but who were now like family.
A delicate rendition of Blue Moon was The Mumbles’ opening song in their first public performance, offering live music for BHS’ Brain Injury Awareness Week exhibition at the QEC.
The exhibition was a celebration of what clients had achieved with an acquired brain injury, including superbikes, photography, writing and steel fabrication.
For Karen Peatt, the exhibition was a chance to proudly display her writing works for the first time.
Ms Peatt acquired her brain injury with hydrocephalus, fluid on the brain, but she said her experiences living with a brain injury were similar to all who had works on display.
The 32-year-old said support from family and friends was really important. Ms Peatt also liked motivational quotes – but she loves language.
“Everything I write I the way I can express myself – the way I can express the way I feel,” Ms Peatt said.
“I write anything and everything. I love writing stories, articles, poems – anything.”
This was the first time BHS has hosted a Brain Injury Awareness exhibition. Event organiser Kirstie Clark was overwhelmed by the community’s strong celebratory response.
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