New Zealand - International Document

Evaluation of the Rockers of Ages Choir

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Bidwell S, Calder K, Colhoun S, Monthy R

Year of Publication:

Canterbury District Health Board

Publication Type:


This document evaluates the Rockers of Ages Elders’ Choirs. This initiative aimed to provide an enjoyable activity in a non-threatening supportive environment that would lift people’s spirits and give them something positive to focus on after the major earthquake of 2011 in Christchurch.

Four choirs were set up to meet weekly, each in an area that had suffered significant earthquake damage: Kaiapoi, St Albans, Aranui, and Sumner. The Aranui choir subsequently moved location to Linwood. Funding and support was received from Hagley Community College, the Communities Team of Community & Public Health, Canterbury District Health Board, Wellbeing North Canterbury and the Sumner Bays Union Trust.

A mixed methods approach was used to evaluate the project. People attending the choirs during their regular sessions in the last week of March 2012 were asked to fill in a simple survey. To add more depth and detail to the survey responses, a convenience sample of choir attendees was recruited at the time of the survey for interviewing individually.

A total of 69 surveys were received, an 81.2% response rate from an estimated membership of 85 choir members. Fifteen ten-minute interviews were carried out over three of the four choirs. The evaluation showed a very high level of enjoyment of the choir activities, both the singing and the social contact. Although it was clear that the singing was the primary attraction, the social contact was a resulting benefit that added to the total experience. Around half of the interviewees referred directly to the earthquake and how helpful they had found the choir experience as a means of restoration and healing.

While such health promoting benefits of the Rockers of Ages Choirs are reported, and add to the growing body of evidence in the field, limitations of the research include lack of baseline data for comparison of general wellbeing or social connectedness. It was also noted that well-led, sustained involvement in professionally led cultural programmes in other types of participatory arts may offer some of the same benefits as singing in a choir.

Evidence Type: Qualitative Research

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Participant Group: Older Adults

Art Forms: Music

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Bidwell S., Calder K., Colhoun S., Monthy R. (2012). Evaluation of the Rockers of Ages Choir. Christchurch, New Zealand: Community and Public Health.