Singing in choirs have provided me with a wonderful social life. I've met most of my friends through choirs.In addition, choral singing has improved my health while having fun.
The Importance of Singing In Choirs to Your Health
I've been singing all my life in a variety of settings and genres. There is something special about belonging to a choir ,and the health benefits are overwhelming
Choral Singing Enhances Your Love of Life
A Lifelong Love
I've sung since before I was old enough to remember events instead of simply smells and sounds. There is a recording of me at the age of three singing "Melancholy Baby." Both sides of my family are full of musical talent. Although not all of my musical relatives sing, there is a wide variety of talent and several people can sing as well as play several instruments or dance. I feel privileged to come from such an artistic family.
Throughout my life I have sung a variety of styles of music just for myself, my friends and family, and in front of audiences as either a soloist, a member of small ensembles, or a member of choirs. I do not have to have even a single person around to enjoy singing. I love singing, period. But while I love singing solos, rehearsing alone is rather lonely. Never by myself do I have as much fun singing as I do as a member of a choir.
Singing in a choir is a great way to expand your social life. Just as people sign up for sports teams to make friends and get exercise, singers can meet people who love to sing as much as they do and keep physically fit. I love singing and want to be around people who love singing. Sometimes I think that I'd have no social life at all during the winter were it not for choir, because I have bad balance on ice and am generally house bound. Choir membership provides me with a social life now that I'm not in class any longer and it is difficult to keep up friendships on your own if you do not belong to organized groups. All of the people I see socially on a regular basis I've met through music-either as a fellow choir member, a fellow member of a stage musical, or a regular member of the audience to Chilliwack concerts and shows. A full social life with deep friendships rather than casual acquaintances can help keep you emotionally happy. For me, long time fellow choir members are my extended family.
There is nothing as exhilarating as creating harmony with other singers, especially in great acoustics. There are certain sounds that can only be appreciated when you hear them reverberate off the church walls. It's a spiritual experience for me to sing choral music, even when we are only rehearsing.
Currently, I belong to three choirs through The Chilliwack Academy of Music: The Chilliwack Festival Chorus, The Chilliwack Women's Chorus, and The Chilliwack Inter-generational Chorus. All three are directed by Soprano Paula Quick. I have belonged to other choirs and small ensembles as well.
I have belonged to The Chilliwack Festival Chorus since January 1999. I was invited to join by my dear friend, Ted Tubbs. Retired Sgt. Major Edward Tubbs died early in 2011 at the age of 71 and I am still not over his death. I met him in 1997 when I was 21 while we were in a production of The Sound of Music. He played Uncle Max and I had one scene with him. I was Sister Sophia and normally wouldn't have shared scenes with him, but all cast members from late teens and older were needed to play extras and bit parts when otherwise not on stage. We went on to be in several Stage musicals together-The Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on the Roof, Oliver!, and South Pacific.
Through some lucky stroke of fate, I was blessed to sing a duet with him in the last concert he was in before he developed cancer. I had been wanting to sing a duet with this great tenor voice for a long time, but there had never been the right opportunity. The Festival Chorus is famous in the Fraser Valley for performing a wide variety of repertoire, especially in our Spring concerts. In the spring of 2009, our theme was The Big Band Era. Our songs included Sentimental Journey, Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree, Star Dust, and Let's Do It, Let's Fall in love. Ted and I sang a duet lead of "How Deep is the Ocean," with the women in the chorus singing back-up. I treasure this memory and I am happy that I have a copy of that recording.
Choral Singing Improves your Physical Health as Well
There are solid physical benefits to singing in a choir. To sing properly, you must have good posture and be relaxed. There will be no beautiful and sustained sounds if you are slouching or rigid. You are taught to breath deeply instead of the normal short breaths we take. Anyone who thinks that singing isn't aerobic exercise has never sung in a choir or sung classical music in general. There are muscles I am normally not even aware I have that are exercised when singing classical music in a choir. When I get home from rehearsal I am physically tired-but it is a pleasant tiredness. Researchers have discovered that singing in choirs reduces stress levels and increases neural activity. All these benefits when we are having fun makes it seem like play, not work.
I would be lost without my choirs. My mental and physical health would suffer and my social life would dissappear over the winter. I cannot imagine life without them.