In small and large ways, community singing may be healing.
My recent travels for the Australian German Association fellowship provided a rare treat for the community music maker: the chance to observe many diverse choirs in rehearsal and performance; to speak with their leaders and managers about factors that contribute to their successes; and above all the chance to interview and hear from choir members themselves.
Members told me about the roles and day-to-day impact upon their lives of their membership of a community choir. For some the contribution of choral singing is in their view relatively minor – a place to gather, to learn, an opportunity to connect with other like-mindeds and share a smile and a song. It can create communities and ameliorate feelings of loneliness and social isolation in a big and diverse city such as Berlin. For others singing in a choir may have a profound and life-changing impact. It plays a crucial role in sustaining health and wellbeing. These are noble goals that testify to the importance of choral singing in creating and sustaining communities.
There are of course a range of psychological and physiological impacts of singing on health, set out in a host of research papers, articles and blogs. I’ve provided just a small sample below.