Singing sensations

The Emm and Friends choir, including sisters Jan Krom (piano) and Maree Kentwell (conductor), come together every Friday for the love of music. Picture: Bodey Dittloff.

Activity. If singing is your thing, a recently formed local group could be the harmonising scratch to your vocal itch.

Watch – Emm and Friends: “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands”

Formed in March, the Emm and Friends choir welcomes Emmerton Park residents and other members of the community every Friday morning for a melodic session, led by sisters Jan Krom and Maree Kentwell.

The concept came about following a meeting at the start of the year with the facility’s director of care, Christine Hyde, with all seeing the potential in a highly inclusive, entertaining activity.

“At the beginning of the year, I thought, ‘we could do this!’,” Mrs Krom said.

“It’s been nice to see the connection between residents and the community.”

Numbers have grown to see between 20 to 30 regular members get together every week, with songs ranging from Singin’ in the Rain to Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport.

While Mrs Krom is comfortable with the piano having taught privately for the past 40 years, Mrs Kentwell – the uplifting conductor of the assembly – also has a musical background in addition to 11 years’ experience working in aged care.

“We’ve done a lot of things together,” Mrs Krom said, resulting in a strong understanding. “Our family used to do a lot of singing and dancing.”

Mrs Kentwell added: “Having someone I can play with makes a big difference.”

The pair described the experience as highly enjoyable, with the sessions an open invitation to anyone regardless of past experience or background.

“It’s really edifying; it’s a very positive time,” Mrs Krom said.

“They haven’t got a lot of volume, but they have a whole lot of heart.”

The concept has grown so much that at Emmerton Park’s Open Day earlier this year, the chapel being so full of singers there was barely room to stand.

Mrs Krom said the quality of the voices was touching: “Maree and I were so moved, we were almost in tears.”

She said singing was good therapy for everyone, including residents with dementia who are able to recall words to songs.

Mrs Hyde said the choir was a welcome addition to activities on offer at the facility.

“It’s been an incredibly positive activity for our residents,” she said.

“For many of them, that was their main entertainment: music and dancing.”

She added the time volunteered by the sisters, particularly Mrs Kentwell travelling from Burnie every Friday, was the driving force behind the concept.

“I didn’t think it would take off quite this fast,” Mrs Hyde said.

“We can’t be more grateful to Jan and her sister – it’s an amazing thing they’re doing for us.”

For more information about Emm and Friends, contact Emmerton Park on 6452 9400.


What: Emm and Friends choir

Where: The chapel, Emmerton Park

When: Fridays, 10.30 to 11.30am

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