Research Team

Project Team:

Principal Investigator & Scientific Director​

Dr. Frank Russo

Lead Researcher &

Dr. Arla Good

Project Manager

Katherine Spencer

Communications Lead

Amber Krogel

Project Team:
Theme Leaders

Project Team:

Dr. Alexandra Fiocco

toronto Metropolitan University

Dr. Amy Clements-Cortes

University of Toronto

Dr. Anna Zumbansen

University of Ottawa

Dr. Annabel Cohen

University of
Prince Edward Island

Dr. Assal Habibi


Dr. Becky Choma

Toronto Metropolitan University

Dr. Benjamin Zendel

Memorial University

Dr. Bill Thompson

Bond University

Dr. Chris Chafe

Stanford University

Dr. Daniel Bowling


Dr. Elizabeth Rochon

University of Toronto

Ellen Cotton

March of Dimes

Dr. Gilles Comeau

University of ottawa

Dr. Gillian Sandstrom

University of Essex

Dr. Gunter Kreutz

Carl von Ossietzky University

Dr. Isabelle Peretz


Dr. Jane Gosine

Memorial University

Dr. Janeen Loehr

University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Jennifer Rayner

Alliance for Healthier Communities

Dr. Jessica Richardson

University of New Mexico

Dr. Johanna Devaney

Brooklyn College, The City University
of New York

Dr. Kate Dupuis

Sheridan College

Dr. Keyvan Eslami

Toronto Metropolitan University

Dr. Laurel Trainor

McMaster University

Dr. Laurier Fagnan

University of Alberta

Dr. Merrill Tanner

University of Alberta

Dr. Nicole Marquis


Dr. Patrick Savage

Keio University

Rena Sharon

University of British Columbia

Dr. Rick Arenas


Dr. Shantala Hegde

National Institute of Mental Health & Neuroscience

Dr. Simone Falk

Université de MONTRÉAL

Dr. Yoon Irons

University of Derby

Choir Directors

Sina Fallah

Heitha Forsyth

Christina Wynans

Ellen Cotton

Paula Wolfson

Dr. Jane Gosine

Michael Wintering

International Advisory Committee

Dr. Christian Gold

Dr. Daisy Fancourt

Ellen Bernstein-Ellis

Dr. Jane Ginsborg

Dr. Lee Willingham

Paul Cann

Dr. Stephen Clift


Alison Claire Talmage

Dr. Dawn Merrett

Dr. Jennifer Bugos

Dr. Louise Drouin

Nicole Gallegos

Rebecca Barnstaple

Dr. Sarah Duncan

Global Partners

The SingWell Partners Map

Map of locations of SingWell partners

Researchers: Gemma Perry and Dr. Bill Thompson, Macquarie University (Australia)
Breathing disorders lead to psychological (anxiety, depression), physiological (posture, nervous system dysfunction), and communication problems (voice production), and may result in social isolation and loneliness. This project will assess the benefits of a 12-week online chanting program for individuals with breathing disorders. Group chanting is a repetitive, rhythmic vocalization that requires controlled breathing and vocal synchronization with co-participants. It is a ubiquitous practice found in many traditions worldwide and is used to strengthen communities and nurture health and wellbeing. Our research has already demonstrated that group chanting can reduce stress, increase social connectedness, and induce altered states of consciousness and feelings of wellbeing. This investigation will assess these outcomes, while also evaluating therapeutic benefits for breathing and communication function. The research will lead to an understanding of the therapeutic potential of group chanting, and the development of new chanting programs designed to help individuals with breathing and communication disorders.

Researchers: Drs. Louise Drouin and Nicole Marquis, Université de Sherbrooke (Canada)
Using a mixed-method non-inferiority design, with a non-probability convenience sampling, we propose a group singing online program as a complement or alternative to online pulmonary rehabilitation (OPR), for older adults with respiratory disease. Due to restrictions on social gatherings as a result of the pandemic, as well as geographic and weather conditions limiting the mobility of people affected by airflow limitation, our study aims to improve the wellbeing of potential participants. This 12-week study is based on our recent pilot comparing the effects of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) and group singing programs (GS) on lung function, quality of life, cognition, and satisfaction (1). We plan to replicate the program online, on a weekly basis, with an adaptable hybrid format, accepting a few in-person participants dependent on restrictions and individual preferences. We will also measure communication abilities, including speech and singing voice variables as well as social inclusion.

Researcher: Dr. Jessica Richardson, University of New Mexico (U.S.A.)
Persons with acquired communication disorders (CDs) experience sudden or insidious onset of communication challenges that dramatically change their ability to participate in everyday life activities. This often results in social isolation, which in turn can lead to onset or worsening of depression, worsening of communication deficits, and even introduction of cognitive deficits. To improve outcomes of persons with CDs, accessible and affordable interventions that combat isolation and encourage communication and life participation are needed. We will generate knowledge about the effects of a group singing intervention on communication and social wellbeing outcomes for persons with aphasia and for persons with Parkinson disease. There are approximately 2.6 million people in North America living with aphasia1 and over 1 million people in North America living with Parkinson disease2,3 who will benefit from this knowledge and have renewed hope for reducing disability burden and improving life participation.

Researcher: Dr. Annabel J. Cohen, University of Prince Edward Island (Canada)
Treble Tremors, a longtime singing group for persons in PEI with Parkinson’s Disease, began meeting online in 2020 due to the pandemic. In 2020, a pilot project was conducted by UPEI student Emma Campbell, demonstrating the feasibility of conducting singing and speaking tests online. The present proposal aims to extend this approach with volunteers from the Treble Tremors. A new weekly PD music interest group will also be formed where participants listen to music and discuss memories, but do not sing. A variety of tests will be administered to both groups, aiming to show benefits to the voice and well-being for the weekly singing group. Showing benefits of online rehearsals may open doors to those who otherwise may be unable to participate. The study may reveal benefits of online PD choirs, online vocal data collection, and the value of data on singing as a marker of resilience to PD progression.

Researchers: Drs. Dawn Merrett and Isabelle Peretz, Université de Montréal (Canada)
The primary aim of this research is to evaluate the role of group bonding in the health and well-being benefits attributed to group singing. We will assess the impact of four weekly singing sessions on mood, feelings of  connectedness, cortisol (a stress hormone), heart rate variability, and synchrony in three different groups: (1) singing alone, (2) singing in a group that is different every week, or (3) singing in a group that is the same every week. This will allow us to investigate the effects of “group singing” versus “group bonding” and to answer some important questions, including: How do singing effects on mood and well-being evolve over time? Is singing in a group that is unfamiliar still better than singing alone? Does a choir need to “bond” to effectively improve mood and well-being? Do singers synchronize better with familiar individuals and does synchrony correlate with feelings of connectedness? Answers to these questions will help improve the design of singing interventions.

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