The restorative power of singing…

I feel like I’ve written about this before, but searching on the word “choir” didn’t produce the results that I thought it would.  I figured that I must have written sometime in the past about how therapeutic it is for me to join with a group of people, be they close friends or total strangers, and sing in harmony.

Singing with strangers is an interesting experience – I often think about being a part of a Pete Seeger audience, and experiencing the genius of his “instant choir” experience.  He would teach the audience 4 parts – SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) – and within minutes, he would have us all singing together in harmony, with his own soaring solo tenor line floating above the blend.  It was magical.

But, to sing together with friends, or in my current choir situation, with a group of mostly strangers, who are all accomplished singers, and with a knowledgeable and skilled director, is to experience the sublime!  The push to achieve excellence and musicianship is such a high.

I wasn’t feeling great when I left for rehearsal tonight.  I was even tempted to stay home, but I set out, and got there late, which I hate.  I ended up sitting in the back, and that made me stand out to our director, Anthony Blake Clark, which was a little anxiety provoking.  But, as we sang, I could feel my spirit rise.  The loneliness and angst of the various stressors in my life right now fell away, and I felt myself get lighter, and brighter.

I find so much joy in singing – it makes me angry when people say they can’t sing.  I get it that people have a variety of outlets for expression, but it is hard for me to imagine anything that humans do that is quite like blending the sound of the voice in harmony.  The act of breathing deeply, and blowing that air out through tightened vocal chords, and tuning the sound to the voices around us.  Yes, there is dancing – and I have many friends who find the same joy in the body act of dance with a group – but, I personally feel that the intimacy of hearing others, and responding with joining my voice with theirs is so rich.

So, I came home tonight refreshed, and feeling much less alone.


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