The Parlour‎ – Cheeks Home Companion: A Benefit for Rudy Cheeks and Tune in and Tune Up

A couple weeks ago Tune In and Tune up (a part of the the RI Music Hall of Fame that raises money for musicians without health insurance) crowd funded several thousand dollars for Rudy Cheeks to be able to receive the dental care he so desperately needed, and Rudy in turn said any money raised over the amount needed for the surgery he would give back to Tune in and Tune up for other musicians to receive help.

The Parlour, appreciative to all of Rudy’s contributions to the state and the music scence in partricular were eager to help but when we logged on, the goal had already been reached.

So, in an effort to contribute to what may be a lengthy and expensive recovery as well as the needs of other musicians without insurance, we are hosting a fundraiser and have talked Rudy into doing a set of songs and stories accompanied by the one and only Mark Taber on piano and Kirk Feather on saxophone.

The Parlour is kicking off the night with a contribution of $250 and 100% of the $$$ raised that night will go to Bruce’s recovery and Tune In and Tune up. We recognize the value of the musicians in this town and realize we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without out.

Also performing: Barn Burning
Other acts TBA

Voice Health – Do you have LPR?

Do you have LPR?

LPR is a common condition effecting a singers voice.

LPR means Laryngealpharygeal reflux. It is a condition commonly know as Gastroesophageal reflux or Gerd. LPR Presents with more symptoms of the upper airway such as the throat and vocal cords.

Did you know that 50% of people with acid reflux do not have heartburn?

This means that you could have acid, bile and mucous chronically going into your throat and you do not know it. The symptoms you may have include frequent clearing of your throat, hoarseness of your voice, problems swallowing, sore throat, cough and a feeling of a lump in your throat. All of these symptoms could be happening without you having any heartburn or indigestion.

Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Physicians such as myself will see this condition frequently. If you have these symptoms chronically it is important to see your Physician. Your Physician may recommend an ENT specialist. An ENT doctor could examine your throat and vocal cords with a special fiberoptic scope. The exam is especially important if you are having changes in the quality of your voice for more than a few weeks. The exam is easily done in the office and is not uncomfortable.

It is estimated that 20% of the population has reflux on a weekly basis.
Acid reflux is more likely to happen as you get older especially if you gain weight. Diet and lifestyle play a major role. Eating late at night as well as smoking, consuming fatty foods, alcohol, an excess of coffee, chocolate or overly spicy foods can make it worse.

Musicians who play late at night could easily develop poor dietary habits.
The singer’s voice is particularly vulnerable to this problem. Even minor irritation could dramatically affect voice quality.

The treatment involves changes in lifestyle and diet. The most important change is to not eat significant amounts of food within 3 hours of going to sleep. If this is impossible you should elevate the back/headboard of the bed 5 inches with blocks. You could also sleep with a wedge which props up your back and head. Adding extra pillows can potentially increase your intra-abdominal pressure and make things worse as well as strain your neck.

Some people need to be on medications to reduce the amount of acid their stomach produces. The common medicines used for this condition include antacids such as Tums, Prilosec and Zantac. These medications are very effective and do not have significant side effects if used short term such as a few months. If you need to be on them long term you should be seen by a Gastroenterologist who can look into your esophagus and stomach to confirm the diagnosis as well as rule out other conditions.

Besides effecting your singing voice, untreated reflux has the potential to cause esophageal cancer. Anyone with difficulty swallowing foods or liquids, unexplained weight loss, bloody or black stools should be seen by their primary care Physician as soon as possible.

The main sign of vocal cord cancer is changes in voice quality for more than a couple of months. No other symptoms may exist. Smokers should be extremely aware of these warning signs.

In summary you may have LPR and not know it. Most musicians are “in tune” with their body. If you noticing any of the symptoms you should not ignore them and seek medical attention.

-Dr. Mark Andreozzi

In Times of Stress We Revert to Habit

I remember being in grammar school during the fire drills. The Dominican sisters made sure that we were quick and quiet when we exited the building. During my eight years there they probably did at least 25 drills. My guess is that if there was a real fire (thank God there wasn’t) and we didn’t know it, they wouldn’t tell us. They would simply say it was a drill so that none of the kids would panic. We would perform the habit of exiting quickly and quiet.

That’s also why responsible people plan ahead. They look at the potential risks in their lives and recognize the fact that it makes more sense to plan a response while things are calm instead of trying to figure out what to do when they’re panicky. For instance, they have a charged fire extinguisher in their kitchen to stop a small fire from taking their entire home. What’s the alternative? “Wow – the oil from my skillet caught fire and it’s spreading! What should I do? Was it salt or sugar or baking soda that’s supposed to put out a fire? Do we still have a (working) fire extinguisher in the basement?” Meanwhile, a small fire can engulf a room in seconds. Literally seconds. Check it out on the web. We’ve all tried to start a fire in the fireplace with newspaper kindling and thought “the flame is RIGHT on the paper. Why isn’t this thing catching so I can start preparing the shrimp before company comes?!” I can’t answer that question. But I can tell you that a typical room has a ton of hearty combustibles that can spread a fire quicker than a nun slapping your head because you talked during a fire drill. Kitchen fire extinguisher. $15 at Home Depot or Benny’s. Teach your kids, mother, wife, husband and brother-in-law that uses too much oil for the spaghetti aglio e olio how to use one.

That’s one of many examples. But it’s a start. When something bad happens and we’re flung into stress, let the habit of responding to that stress be something that’s predetermined, manageable and familiar. You’ll be unsurprised how well you’ll handle it.

In times of stress we revert to habit. This is a quote from Zig Ziglar, a great motivational speaker. I could never get it out of my head. Being in the safety business, maybe that’s a good thing.

Alan DiBenedetto is a Safety Specialist for Thermo Fisher Scientific and sings with The Islanders. He lives in North Kingstown.