Why everyone should join a choir!

A few of the Glebeites in Musica Viva Singers. From left: Janet Smith, Walter Hendelman and Janet Still.

By Eleanor Abra 
and Walter Hendelman

We know what happens. You see a person coming toward you with a determined look, and you just know that person is going to ask you to join their choir. So you think up all the reasons to not join that choir: You are not trained, you don’t sight read music well, you don’t have a solo voice, etc. And your friend leaves, disappointed, because they thought that you might be a really good fit.

But wait a minute! Let’s look at all those excuses. It doesn’t matter if you never spent a penny on singing lessons – if you like to sing in the shower (cliché, I know), you would probably do just fine in a choir.

Don’t read music easily? Not many people do, unless they practise it! So here is your chance to let your fellow singers help you learn more about music. And with technology, most choirs are putting up practice recordings to sing along with at home, where no one can hear you until you know your part. You don’t have to sing solo, unless you really want to. The glory of a choir is that many voices blend, so no one voice sticks out.

And what are the benefits of singing in a choir? Your section of the choir soon becomes a group of friends. Singing together helps people work better together, which is why there are many choirs in Europe that are based in factories or other places of employment – it’s team building! You can choose a choir that sings only one style of music, or you can find a choir with a wide repertoire. And who knows? You might really like singing Vivaldi one week and Gordon Lightfoot the next.

Now, here’s the pitch. Choirs all over the city are starting back up. After the loneliness of lockdown, people are itching to have the camaraderie of singing together. But many choirs – ours amongst them – have lost voices, especially in the lower ranges. It seems that people who can sing tenor or bass might be a little extra self-conscious! But that shouldn’t be. Remember that there is safety in numbers. Our community choir, Musica Viva Singers (MVS), is starting its fall term – in person – and searching for voices. We continue to welcome sopranos and altos, but we especially need voices in the lower range of tenor and bass.

Anyone who wants to sing in a community choir, to reap all the benefits of choral singing and has Monday evenings free for rehearsals should get in touch with Marjorie at MusicaVivaMembership@gmail.com. Please check out our website: www.musica-viva.ca. The fall programme preview is under the “Sing with us” tab. Our weekly rehearsals resume on Monday, September 12, from 7:15 – 9:30 p.m. at Centretown United Church, 507 Bank Street just north of the Queensway. Music scores are provided to the choir members to be returned at the end of the term.

This is a non-auditioned choir, which means you are not expected to know how to read music, sight read/sing nor arrive at rehearsals fully prepared musically- though practising what you learned at choir rehearsal is expected. Efforts continue to provide online assistance to learn your part, and sight reading/singing is not expected. The introductory fee for newcomers to the choir is $100 for the first term, which will end with a live concert on December 5.

Choir singing is also beneficial for your physical health. The additional advantage for Glebeites joining MVS is the possibility of walking to practices. For those who must drive, parking is available at Glashan Public School at 28 Arlington Avenue.

Health & Safety: At this time, masks are optional, unless Public Health requirements change. Many of us are accustomed to singing with masks, either the special choir N95s or the regular surgical or cloth ones. We will be seated and well-spaced in the sanctuary pews of the church. To date, all participating choir members have been vaccinated.

Hope to see you soon!

Eleanor Abra has sung with Musica Viva Singers for many years and is a member of the choir board. Walter Hendelman has been singing with MVS for several years and is an active participant in the affairs of the Glebe, presently with the GCA Parks Committee.

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