Writing is a great love, and it’s a delight to be able to earn a living working with words. But singing…singing is pure passion.
Last Sunday I was privileged to spend the day singing the Bach B Minor Mass with Canterbury Cantata and Camerata. And we get to do it all again this weekend when, on the second part of our 2017 Bach journey, we sing Bach’s St John Passion.
This Sunday, as well as being Easter Sunday, is World Voice Day. No, I’d never heard of it either, but it exists to ‘share the excitement of the voice phenomenon with the public, scientists and funding bodies.’
I’m no expert on the science of voice production, but when it comes to excitement, I can tell you that, as singer or listener, I have experienced very few things more moving than a choir singing as one, their voices lifted to the rafters (together with the orchestra, if there is one, let’s not forget the instrumentalists).
One of our audience summed it up: “I was privileged to listen to a truly uplifting performance, distinguished by many strong, confident and ‘as one voice’ entries in all parts of the chorus, memorable solos and an orchestra on top form.”
Singing brings us together
Music transcends language, culture and communication barriers. It can uplift and comfort, or rouse and protest. Making music together goes a step further. It creates a shared bond. After Sunday’s performance, I posted an observation on Facebook. It attracted comment and reactions from dozens of people who shared memories of singing with our groups in its various forms over the last 26 years.
And unlike playing an instrument, singing together requires no special skill or practice*. Anyone and everyone can sing.
Singing is good for us
Back to the aims of World Voice Day, Canterbury Cantata Trust has, for many years, been researching the health benefits of singing. The positive impact on people with dementia is becoming more and more well known, but in recent years we’ve also been focussing on how regular singing can help People with Parkinson’s to manage some of their symptoms, including helping them to improve vocal strength and control, loss of which is a common experience. The Trust’s Sing to Beat Parkinson’s project is growing fast, with new groups starting up in the UK, Australia and Asia during 2017. Through joint research projects, the Trust will be exploring how singing impacts other neurological conditions as well.
If this interests you, and you’d like to know more, please comment or contact email@example.com.
In the meantime, we’ll be singing out for World Voice Day this weekend.
*Bach, though, generally requires a bit.