How Singing in Choir Brought One Woman ‘Harmony’

Singing in choirs is fun, and research shows it's good for you.(Photo: Stefan Karpiniec/Creative Commons/Flickr)
Singing in choirs is fun, and research shows it's good for you.(Photo: Stefan Karpiniec/Creative Commons/Flickr)

If you’ve ever sung in a choir, then you know it’s not really about the music. Well, it is about the music. But as one woman discovered, it’s about much more than that.

On a rainy winter day, Toronto resident Leah McLaren saw a notice in a coffee shop encouraging female singers to audition for a local choir. McLaren took the plunge, and found what in a report for Toronto’s Globe and Mail, she now calls “a transcendent experience.”

The emotional impact McLaren experienced made her wonder, “What is it about singing in harmony with other humans that changes the way we feel and think?” She looked into it and found that a number of scientific studies have shown that singing in choirs can ease the strains of high blood pressure and depression, among other illnesses. One researcher, Oxford University psychologist Nick Stewart, even opined,

It could be that singing in a group gives us something that we have lost as a society.

Community, maybe. A sense of belonging to a group. Instant acknowledgment that your contributions to the group are important, necessary even, and valued.

Music can give us that? You betcha.

What are your choir stories?

Read more: Why I Joined a Choir (And Why It’s the Best) (The Globe and Mail)

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