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The Cantabrainers Choir win support from Music Foundation

Future Leaders Now! and The Cantabrainers Choir win support from The New Zealand Music Foundation

The New Zealand Music Foundation, the leading charity dedicated to supporting projects across NZ that use music to change the lives of people in need, has released the results of its March support round.

Two projects in Christchurch and Whangarei affecting more than 2,000 people have received grants in the latest support initiative to be announced by the charity.

At the Mary Potter Community Centre in Christchurch The Cantabrainers Choir, which is organised under the umbrella of the New Zealand Brain Research Institute, has 45 members who all have neurological conditions ranging from Parkinson’s to acquired brain injury and stroke, amongst others. They meet weekly to sing and use music to regain their powers of communication and change their lives for the better.

The New Zealand Music Foundation is supporting the choir by providing the hall hire for the choir’s weekly sessions through 2015.

Sistema Whangarei – Toi Akorangi, an initiative of Whangarei Youth Music operating in Northland, is a community-based initiative with heart. It offers an intensive, after school, in-school and holiday orchestral programme, providing opportunities for children to experience success and for some, completely altering their life trajectory - it changes their world. Their Future Leaders Now! project works to train and mentor teenagers to step into leadership roles within the overall programme, passing on invaluable life skills and instilling confidence.

The New Zealand Music Foundation is providing junior teaching artist fees to support the project.

Chair of The New Zealand Music Foundation, Campbell Smith says: “We’d like to congratulate The Cantabrainers Choir and the NZBRI and Sistema Whangarei – Toi Akorangi. We are proud to announce the results of our latest support round and we feel that it comprehensively reflects our belief that music has the power to change the lives of those in need in our country. From a project working to improve the life chances of youth in Northland through to a choir that measurably improves outcomes for people with neurological conditions in Christchurch, these initiatives vividly illustrate the positive effect music can have in all parts of our lives.”

Dr Michael Macskill, Research Director of the New Zealand Brain Research Institute, says: “The benefit of the inclusion of music therapy in the treatment of people with neurological conditions is now widely recognised. It goes beyond being just an enjoyable pastime, there are many measurable beneficial clinical effects and of course the impact on the wider family and the joy that comes from the weekly choir sessions is invaluable. We’d like to thank The New Zealand Music Foundation for recognising this and assisting us in our efforts to bring music therapy to those with neurological conditions in Christchurch.”

Fiona Douglas, Programme Director at Sistema Whangarei – Toi Akorangi says:“Music not only enriches our culture, but it also provides a powerful way to engage and motivate our young people in Northland. The challenges they face are well documented, but we’re excited to be making a positive difference by using the magic of music to give essential life skills such as leadership, organisation and resilience to these remarkable teenagers. We’re grateful to The New Zealand Music Foundation for recognising our efforts and for helping to make the Future Leaders Now! project possible.”


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