At our year-end choir meeting, one of the singers said “singing in a circle looking at each other is one of the most powerful experiences.” In January I started singing with Safe Harbour, a local chamber choir, a mentor choir for SONG, a local children’s music program.
We often stand in a circle and sing to each other. CBC recently published an article about the science behind why choir is good for us. The article explains how singing together creates a stronger sense of belonging and better moods.
When we sing in multiple harmonies (sometimes as many as eight) and go into mixed formation, where we stand away from our own part, the energy intensifies even more. Then the air around us becomes electric. Different voices singing together, contributing to a shared experience of a song can feel like flying.
Last weekend our adult choir joined the children’s choir. Whoa. Singing together with multiple generations is sublime. Just before the show began we were in a rehearsal space to practice ‘Walk Out on the Water’ by Royal Canoe, arranged by Geung Kroeker-Lee.
First, adult voices began. Clapping. Then, children crowding around, joining in boisterously. Our bodies moved to the music because the music made us happy. Pure joy radiated through the group as we sang this together for the first time. Adults beaming as the children sang, children beaming as the adults sang. Curiosity. Surprise. Delight. We were both performer and audience: creating the sound and experiencing the sound simultaneously as we looked into each other’s singing faces.
For thousands of years humans have been singing together. In September, as I began a new school year, I decided to sing more. This decision changed everything. I feel more relaxed and resilient and connected and grounded and happy. Singing alone at my lessons is my weekly meditation. Singing together with the choir is my weekly communion, a time for sharing song in community.
Now, if only I could figure out how to find the time to sing alone and together every day!