Sassy Choir was formed in 2014 by Sharon Parnell (Makaton Regional Tutor) and Sue King (performer and music teacher) as a fully inclusive and disability friendly choir that incorporates singing and Makaton signing as a powerful and all embracing means of communication.
The choir's emphasis is on having fun and feeling fully empowered. By singing and signing simultaneously, choir members are able to participate fully in an enjoyable and uplifting experience, and reach their full potential. It caters for those who think they cannot sing and those who wish to sing using their hands instead of their voices. Makaton contains the essence of meaning, so is immediately understandable and significant.
The benefits of singing to health and well being are well known and documented. But the benefits that signing brings to singing are not always recognised. When people use Makaton, voices are totally freed up and the singing becomes vibrant and natural.
When Sassy Choir members sign, they are singing, talking, and expressing their personalities in addition to their feelings – all with their hands. So with Sassy, you get a double whammy of communication and pleasure!
In performance, Sassy brings an awareness of the barriers to communication that are faced by so many people in society today, whether it is because of cognitive, communicative, emotional or physical needs, or dementia. Sassy Choir members not only enjoy themselves, they also bring joy to everyone who sees or hears them. And it improves quality of life. Our audience comments have included “inspiring"," moving”, “it made me cry”, and “it made me want to sing again, after 20 years of not singing”.
Sassy Choir meets twice a month in Honiton and, led by Sharon and Sue, sings a wide variety of songs, including country classics, ballads, oldies, folk songs, silly songs and modern chart material! Sassy regularly performs in concert in, and for the benefit and pleasure of, the local community, often to raise money and awareness for charities, including a local special needs school, various Niemann Pick Disease (type C) charities, and CLIC.
Pictured right is choir member Annie Pyne, one of our star signers and singers, who loves every minute of Sassy. She has a fantastic, fun-loving personality, a wicked sense of humour, and brings real joy to the group. Mind you, Annie will let Sue and Sharon know, in no uncertain terms, if she thinks the song they have chosen is rubbish! Annie and her mum Kait have a really strong bond through the power of using Makaton together. Sharon and Sue are proud to be Makaton ambassadors, and to have known and worked with Annie for the past 7 years to give Annie a voice to the best of her ability, which in turn enables Annie to make choices, express her emotions and, most importantly, to communicate her needs through using Makaton.
Sassy is completely open to anyone, audition free. To contact Sharon or Sue, go to www.sassychoir.com, where you can find out more information and contact us by email or phone.
We wear our choir T-shirts with great pride, and look forward to going from strength to strength in 2016.