Singing can be good for you, for your general mood and for recognised mental health issues.
But I feel that there’s something more at work here – how it can combat loneliness.
When I started out running choirs, I had no idea of the impact the community aspect would be.
Friendships were made and strengthened, fun was had, tea was drank. I asked my members to tell me how they are benefitting from being in our group.
The responses humbled me. For some, even just getting out of the door to get to choir can be a struggle.
One person said: “I now make the effort to change from my daily clothes, brush my hair and make sure I am ready on time for singing. The effects are amazing – I smile, I laugh, I talk to strangers – now friendly faces – and sing my heart out.”
For people with long-standing medical conditions, getting out to meet up with other people to share a common goal can be invaluable, with one member saying: “I experience chronic pain and fatigue.
“Much like running, I find that the focus on something positive can take my attention from the pain and cause me to be less me focused.”
You don’t need to be a good singer to be in a choir – the effect of singing with others usually is a great support for the actual singing.
Another member said: “I’m not great at singing but love it all the same.
“I get to meet new people, to laugh at mistakes and take the time to listen to others, to feel strong in a group and empowered by the outcomes of our work.”
I have heard one choir member refer to Monday evening as her “mental health” evening.
Community choirs are everywhere. Try one out – if you don’t like it, try another. Don’t give up – come and share the joy.
By Kari Olsen-Porthouse (choir Director for the West Bridgford Liberty Singers)