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Chorus Of Approval

September 3, 2008

The high ratings of television shows in the UK and US like Last Choir Standing (BBC) and Clash of the Choirs (NBC) together with a slew of articles in recent times about everything from how the French are embracing choral singing to how "choirs are becoming cool" has inspired me think about what it is that turns me on about singing in a chorus. Here's my initial, off-the-cuff list of reasons, not in any particular order:

The feeling of being part of a team
Creating beautiful music
The physical benefits e.g. improves breathing and posture
Clears my head; helps me connect my head with my body
Keeps me focused on the "now" rather than cogitating over the past or future
Social aspect e.g. meeting new people; going for a drink after rehearsal
Sharing great music with an audience
Pre-concert adrenalin rush
The challenge of learning tricky music
The sensation of hearing really unusual melodies and harmonies
The pleasure of performing in unusual spaces or spaces with lovely acoustics
The theatricality of dressing up for concerts
The idea of lots of different voices and personalities all coming together and creating harmony
Developing musical expertise
The sense of feeling both connected to myself and people around me.

I'm sure there are are more reasons I could come up with if I put my mind to it. If you have anything to add to the list, feel free to get in touch.

Finally, here are a few reasons that music critic Norman Lebrecht states in the piece he wrote in 2005 (see "embracing" link above) about why people love choral singing: "Choral singing is one of the last frontiers of human freedom," writes Lebrecht. "It is pretty much the only art you can perform without someone taxing, regulating or funding it, and it is certainly the only music that delivers an instant uplift to all participants."

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