On pages 14 and 15, we look at the pleasure to be had from being part of a choir.
The report talks to participants in the Belfast Community Gospel Choir, Northern Ireland’s first and only multicultural gospel choir, the Lisburn Harmony Ladies Choir and the This is Me choir in Larne, among other outfits.
Singers reflect on the connectedness and friendship and joy that comes from performing together. This is a pleasure common to choir members across the Province and worldwide, and why new choirs always emerge, including in recent years the Belfast-based Pro Bono choir of members of Northern Ireland’s legal profession.
They join existing choirs such as the countless church ones that take up their place in the stalls to sing every Sunday, often peopled by members who first sang in a choir at school.
Choirs demand a voluntary time and practice commitment that is often tedious but ultimately rewarding.
A BBC TV series about a group of singers who suffer from some degree of dementia has helped put choirs in the public consciousness. It has been intriguing to think of choirs as way to keep even older people who are suffering mental decline involved in activity and achievement, in the same way that gardening or other groups for the elderly do.
Singing, like exercise, is said to release chemicals in the brain that cause happiness.