“Choral music is not one of life’s frills. It’s something that goes to the very heart of our humanity, our sense of community, and our souls. You express your soul when you sing.” – John Rutter
Composer John Rutter recently made this statement in an interview to music publisher J.W. Pepper and I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I feel he’s on to something quite important: you discover the fullness of life when you sing.
The act of singing is personal. Everyone has the ability to sing, but putting one’s own voice out there for all to hear can be intimidating. We worry about how our voices sound, if we have proper breath support, adequate vowel modification, and suitable vocal timbre. Then, there’s the scrutiny we assume will come from those who hear us. However, in the choral setting, things are rather different. In a choir, you are not alone but together in song. Each experiences a shared vulnerability, learning about themselves and one another, as well as learning the art of patience.
At the heart of the choral experience is a sense of belonging and mutual humanity, that we are acceptable just as we were made and who we are. When a community of diverse individuals join together in song, a shared humanity is experienced such that the fleeting challenges of day-to-day life seems less overwhelming.
Choral music is historically one of the highest forms of aesthetic experience, enriching the heart, the mind and the soul. When we sing together, hearts sync, minds focus, and we feel a sense of spirit. This helps us foster a keen awareness of the beauty around us. We begin noticing what often goes unrecognized; we begin to see beyond material things and understand the bigger picture.
The art and practice of choral singing connects us to ourselves and to one another. The physicality of singing involves the entire body: an engaged core, deep yet controlled breathing, upright posture, neutral stance, and a focused mind. Choral singing helps you know yourself and trust in your abilities. It awakens a broader understanding of self, humanity and the world.
We agree with John Rutter – choral music gets to the heart of our humanity.
So, dear people, we urge you to join a choir and sing! When rehearsal ends, remember that you will leave with more than a stack of pencil-marked music. You’ll leave a better citizen of the human race.