I took the plunge just over 3 years ago and joined a choir. I could kick myself now for not having taken the plunge years ago. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. At the time, I didn’t give a second thought to the benefits it would bring to my life – I just wanted something to do to get me away from being stuck in front of the TV.
A friend on Facebook kept posting videos of a choir called Sing In The City. The one that really caught my attention took place in the baggage reclaim area at Edinburgh Airport, where a chap ended up proposing to his girlfriend (she said ‘yes’!) while being flash mobbed by a group of people singing. Everyone involved seemed to be having a whale of a time. Decision made. I contacted them via their web site and was invited along on the following Monday for a trial night. I haven’t looked back since and hate missing my Monday night sessions when I’m on holiday. In fact, many choir members plan their holidays so as not to miss too many evenings!
We’re all now looking forward to a really big concert at the Usher Hall on 25th November 2016 (more information available here http://www.usherhall.co.uk/whats-on/sing-city).
These are the benefits I’ve found so far of being in a choir.
- Exercise – it might only be a small amount of exercise, but we spend most of the evening standing or moving to the music as we sing.
- Breathing – I’ve learned how to make better use of my lungs. It sounds silly, but we don’t breathe deeply enough and end up with a load of stale air in our lungs (or so I’ve been told!).
- Memory – we learn the words and parts because our Chief doesn’t allow us to have anything on stage as reminders. It’s good for those of us who are getting older – keeps us sharp!
- Social side – I’ve made lots of new friends and, as we get to know each other, we’re discovering that we’ve got more in common than just the choir. We’ve had a quiz night, a karaoke night, several visits to tourist attractions, lessons in bread baking and a whole host of other enjoyable experiences.
- Mental well-being – we all say that, no matter how bad a day we’ve had, we all walk out of choir practice with a smile on our faces. It’s uplifting. You forget about all else except getting the words and notes right for 2 hours. It’s a laugh and a great stress-reliever.
We also raise money for various charities in and around Edinburgh (over £50,000 in 6 years with plans to raise more over the coming year).
Further information (I hope the links work because some of them look a bit odd):
- Sing In The City https://www.choiredinburgh.co.uk/
- The Cheyne Gang is a choir for people with the debilitating condition Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and other chronic lung disorders https://www.facebook.com/TheCheyneGang/?ref=page_internal
- HarmonyChoir is a group of singers of whom some have lived experience of mental health symptoms, dedicated to enjoy singing & reduce mental health stigma https://www.facebook.com/HarmonyChoir-1019614314779297/?ref=page_internal
If you needed more persuasion about the benefits of being in a choir, just read the following items from a variety of sources.
- Shetland News – New choir offers chance to improve health through song http://www.shetnews.co.uk/newsbites/13223-choir-offers-chance-to-improve-your-health-through-song
- BBC News – Can singing in a choir make me healthier? http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zcc7tyc
- The Guardian – Want to be happy? Join a choir https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/dec/18/why-singing-makes-people-happy-oliver-burkeman
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