By Kathryn-Jane Hazel
It’s always a grand night for singing when you belong to a choir. Not only is it fun, but it has a load of health benefits, too.
As U.S. writer Stacy Horn has said: “Group singing is cheaper than therapy, healthier than drinking, and certainly more fun than working out.”
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have discovered that choral singing has as calming an effect as yoga or meditation.
A University of Cardiff study found that lung cancer patients who sang in a choir were able to breathe better.
A joint study by Harvard and Yale universities of choral singers in Connecticut concluded that group singing increased their life expectancy. Other studies have shown that singing can boost the immune system, reduce stress levels, alleviate depression and anxiety, and help relieve chronic pain. And that’s just the health benefits. The social benefits are also huge. Choral singing reinforces feelings of togetherness and trust, encourages cooperation, and prevents isolation. Malaspina Choir members would certainly agree.
“Besides the pleasure from producing beautiful sounds with friends, singing broadens my shoulders, improves my balance, opens my throat and sharpens my ears,” said Charlotte Richardson.
Sue Meredith testifies to the relaxing effects of singing.
“When you are practising you are so intently focused on what you are doing that everything else going on in your life fades to the background and out of your mind, so you leave any stress behind,” Meredith said.
Rosalyn Rosher has sung in choirs all her life. For her, singing is both stimulating and joyful.
“In the Malaspina choir we learn different kinds of music and new music which is a learning experience in itself,” Rosher said. “It is fun to sing with other people who share your interests and your joy.”
And for Malaspina choir president Kathryn Grant, choral singing connects her to the larger world.
“I love the synchronicity of a group putting something together. It makes me feel part of something bigger. I believe it puts positive energy out into the world,” Grant said.
The Malaspina Choir will be holding its fall concert, It’s A Grand Night for Singing Nov. 17, 2:30 p.m., at St. Andrew’s United Church, 311 Fitzwilliam St.
Tickets are $20; $15/students and available through the Port Theatre box office at 250-754-8550, www.port
theatre.com or at the door. For more information on the Malaspina Choir, please visit www.malaspinachoir.com.