Why join a choir?
By sheer coincidence just after I had started this piece, I received in the mail an invitation to a concert by THECHOIR (in Jonathon Walsh’s stable). This “exciting but non professional choir” is non auditioned and presents songs from pop to contemporary. For further details go to http://thechoir.com.au/ .
Suburban and community choirs are drawing the crowds, as both audiences and members. Recently I saw a relative new comer on the scene the Pop Choir, singing Christmas songs in a church hall where there was also a market. This choir too is non auditioned and cheerful. I was told about it by Danny who has belonged for some years. When explaining why he joined Pop Choir he said:
“I joined the choir in early 2014. I was going through a bit of stuff as my girlfriend at the time was diagnosed with lung cancer; the inevitable happened and she passed away. Joining the choir got me through a very difficult patch. I remember reading an article in the local paper saying , ‘Come along and have a sing its good for your soul’. I read it and put the paper back down with no intentions of going along, thinking to myself, ‘Na boys don’t sing’. It must have triggered something in my brain because about a week later I went rummaging through the old papers to see if I could find the article again. I did, and I thought, ‘You know I might just go along and stand in the corner and watch’. So I went along and I cant really remember that first night, but it must have got me hooked, because I have missed like two session in five years and one of those was because I had open heart surgery, so it takes a lot for me to miss choir; it is one of the highlights of my week. I remember the night before I went to have my heart operation, the choir went out to a Karaoke bar to have some fun before I went for my operation, I got up that night and sang a few numbers and told people I was going to Sing my Heart Out.
I can honestly say it is one of the best things I have done; it is fun, sociable, we sing great songs, we get to perform, we sound good and what our Sharon gets the choirs to do with harmonies and everything is amazing. As I get older and cant do all the physical things I used to do, choir certainly replaces the endorphins and things like that, that had been missing. Sharon is incredible and not only is she herself a great singer, she is also a good teacher and at the same time very entertaining and could probably hold down a comedy act if it came to it. Sharon makes everybody feel relaxed and the room is always very warm and inviting. It really is a great choir to belong to; if you’re having an ordinary day and you come along to choir, it just lifts you, you cant help getting swept along with all the good stuff that is going on around you.”
His comments echo those of the conductor of Pop Choir, Sharon ,“What makes Pop Choir different is singing, fun and for everyone. Singing with no judgment. Music is a part of everybody’s world and therefore everyone should be able to be involved and that is what we love to share”. When asked why anyone should join a choir, Sharon said, “To feel good, to meet new friends, to express your inner performer”. Throughout their time as a choir the singers have enjoyed the success of performing at the Elton John movie Rocket Man premiere; however they say that a great deal of their success has been the feedback from clients saying how Pop Choir music inspires and heals; to hear how Pop Choir has changed someone for the better makes what we do a huge success.
Website choirplayer.com has stated the benefits of joining a choir as five fold. The first reason being, joining a choir improves the way you hear and appreciate music. The second being, choral singing has shown to be immensely beneficial for one’s mental health, with studies showing enhanced brain function, strengthened feelings of confidence togetherness, and the release of endorphins and oxytocin resulting in reduced stress and depression, according to Professor Grenville Hancox, Director of the Sidney de Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health in Kent, who has done extensive research on the benefits of choral singing on mental health. If benefiting mental health was not reason enough, then a boost in confidence ought to be another compelling reason to join a choir. Singing in a community choir gives you permission to make noise as part of group, and choir leaders report witnessing new members’ confidence grow rapidly. Fourthly, singing requires lots of lung capacity and deep breathing; when singing the breathing rate slows and deepens, releasing endorphins and increasing a profound sense of well-being. Finally, as if the above four reasons were not reason enough to join a choir, recent research reveals that group singing helps forge social bonds, and it does so particularly quickly, acting as a powerful icebreaker. People feel valued and inevitably make friends with individuals from diverse backgrounds and therefore horizons are broadened and social cohesion is improved.
I hope I have made a compelling case for you to join a choir; benefits to physical health and mental health in conjunction with widening one’s social circles and boosting confidence seems like it is a win win win for all. If you are looking for a new hobby, looking to try your hand at something new or want to improve your overall wellbeing, look no further than joining a choir. There are plenty around ready to embrace you warmly.
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