As music therapists, we at Soundscaping Source make music all the time with people who have diagnoses and limitations of various kinds. I always find it sad when people think they can’t be musical because of a diagnosis, and I find it delightful when they discover they can.
So I was particularly delighted to receive this email from Jovy Ong, in response to this post about Linda Ronstadt’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease and subsequent difficulty singing. Here is what Jovy has to say:
Email from Jovy Ong:
I will be 66 years old by November. I was diagnosed with PD in 2005 at 55. I took up karaoke singing two years thereafter to prevent the loss of my voice. Now, not only do I have my voice still intact, but I can also hit the high notes of Beatle songs. During my teen years, I was not able to attain that! I can sing songs of Perer Cetera and Chicago “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”; “All Out Of Love” by Air Supply; and songs by Toto, Righteous Bros, Everly Brothers, Back Street Boys, WestLife, Broadway, Michael Buble, The Eagle etc…
These are some of the beneficial effects I experienced as a result of singing:
- It prevents difficulty in swallowing food.
- It stops excessive salivation. While singing, our mouths tend to dry up. Somehow I managed to circulate the excess saliva inside the mouth. As a result, I can carry conversation normally without drooling.
I am the president of the Parkinson Support Group of the Philippines Foundation. I sang to inspire our members to do the same.
Please tell Linda not to give up singing. She is just 3 years my senior. Tell her to inspire and be inspired, to reach out and be touched, to bring happiness and be happier, because there are so many things to do in life. Please tell her to email that we can work together to alleviate the suffering of those people afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease.
There is more hope than despair.
Thank you, and best regards,
Thank YOU, Jovy, for your words of encouragement and inspiration for so many. And Linda, if you’re out there, I’d love to put you in touch with Jovy.
By the way, Jovy is retired but still does tax consulting work as a Certified Public Accountant. He also scouts and recruits athletes for his alma mater the De La Salle University in the Philippines. He says, “I have the Midas touch.” You can see a photo of him with two of his women’s basketball recruits above.