Centre for Brain Research

CeleBRation Choir

Working together to improve lives

About our choir

CeleBRation Choir
CeleBRation Choir with jazz musician, Ben Fernandez (right), sound recordist John Kim (crouching) and choir leader Alison Talmage (in yellow), after recording “Celebration” for Ben’s album, “The Music Never Stopped”.

The Celebration Choir is a therapeutic community singing group which aims to help people with communication difficulties related to a neurological condition and to research the benefits of singing. It is an initiative of the University of Auckland’s Centre for Brain Research and started in 2009.

We include warm-ups, breathing and vocal exercises, and songs for enjoyment and to work on our individual voice, speech, language and memory goals. Singing may also help to ‘rewire’ the brain after brain injury, and so could help with language problems like aphasia.

We sing a wide variety of familiar and new songs and we welcome participants’ preferences and suggestions. These include traditional folk songs and rounds, waiata, show tunes, Christmas music and pop songs from the 1950s on.

Alison Talmage
Professoe Suzanne Purdy (Choir Principal Investigator), Alison Talmage, David Talmage and Choir member Elizabeth Donovan at the Kiwibank Local Hero medal awards event.


Volunteer inquiries are welcome from students and the wider community.

The Choir is led by co-founder, music therapist and doctoral student Alison Talmage, who was awarded a Kiwibank Local Hero medal for her work with the CeleBRation Choir.


Further information:

Email: cbrchoir@auckland.ac.nz
Phone: 09 923 6886

You can also follow us on Facebook, read our blog, or check out our events calendar.

News and media


University of Auckland news, "Choir collaboration a cause for celebration".


CeleBRation Choir recorded a track with Ben Fernandez (2020) and a small group performed in the album launch concert—Listen to "Celebration".

95bFM, "Ready, Steady, Learn w/ Alison Talmage"

In Our Own Words - Why We All Love the CeleBRation Choir (for Music Therapy Week 2020)

“Choir Online is Better than No Choir At All!” The Responses of Adults with Neurological Conditions to an E-Choir Initiative During Covid-19 Lockdown in New Zealand.

NZ Journal of Music Therapy, “Log On and Sing: Songwriting with the CeleBRation Choir”. In “Music Therapy in a Time of Pandemic”

University of Auckland news, "Choir helps people with neurological conditions recover their voice".

University of Auckland news, "Choir online – therapeutic singing during isolation".


Ingenio Magazine, "The Power of Voice" (pp.28-29)

Ingenio Spring 2018
(36.2 MB, PDF)




The CeleBRation Choir is funded by the Centre for Brain Research and has also received support from the following organisations.

CMYK blank
Centre for Brain Research
MThNZ Logo
Music Therapy New Zealand
Music Helps Logo
MusicHelps ĀwhinaPuoro
HRC logo
Health Research Council of New Zealand

We also acknowledge funding towards Alison Talmage’s PhD research from Music Therapy New Zealand, Fehl Charitable Trust, Graduate Women New Zealand, and Hope Foundation for Ageing Research.