As I have mentioned in some past posts- I have always enjoyed music, either playing or singing. No matter how bad life got, music always made me feel better. Sure, my life circumstances would not change, but for those moments I was taken away from the craziness, danger and chaos that was my life.
I have not sung in a group since high school. Fast forward 33 years. I know, it shocks me that much time has passed!
In my community there is a choir called the Letz Sing (http://www.letzsing.com/). This choir is part of the Ubuntu Choirs network (http://www.ubuntuchoirs.net/index.php)- whose philosophy is “that the joy of singing is a universal birthright.” I had heard about the Letz Sing choir many years ago and had thought about joining. There are no auditions, everyone is welcome, and just over a year ago I took the plunge and joined, there has been no looking back!
I have always loved singing, but had been told by various people throughout my life that I could not sing. So when I did sing, it was very quietly. Even when I was in the school choirs, I just stood in the back, not wanting to be noticed and sung quietly. But I always felt better for doing it.
I was very nervous the first day I walked into the hall to sing with the Letz Sing choir. All the flashbacks of past insults of being lousy, not being able to sing, sounding like a “cat dying etc. came flooding back to me in full Technicolor, but I was determined I was going to stay at least for this one session. I am so glad I did.
There is no reading music, this is all call and response, meaning the leader will sing a line to us, then we sing it back to her. My, oh my, did my brain get a work out. We sing a lot of world music, meaning songs from around the world in other languages, there are no Broadway musical hits here. Trying to get my tongue and brain around some of these words was a challenge, but with the encouragement from the leader and the people around me, I hung in there, and now these are some of my favorite songs.
When I started, as per my norm, I sung just above a whisper, and ever so slowly and cautiously I started to sing a bit louder each time and I was amazed one day when I heard this voice singing, and realized it was actually mine!! I had never heard myself sing above a whisper before, it was an amazing feeling. At first I looked around to see if I was getting any glares from anyone, but all I received was smiles and encouragement.
This really is an amazing group of people. The choir has a banner that says “Letz Sing a Choir Community” and it really is a community. From the moment I walked in there, perfect strangers welcomed me with open arms, and I now look forward to seeing them all. When I am not there, they notice it, and when I am back they ask me how I am doing. This is an amazing varied collection of people that get together each week to sing. Some are very seasoned singers, and some are singing for the first time in their life. There are singers of varying ability, ages and personalities. And for that 1 and ½ hours we come together as a group and enjoy singing as it should be, without criticism, put downs or comparisons. We sing for the sheer joy of singing and it is not just amazing, it is magical!
The choir meets 3 times a week. Monday night in Courtenay, Tuesday morning in Comox, and Wednesday night in Merville. You can come to one session a week or all three. This year I have been going Monday night and Tuesday morning. At the end of each term, all 3 choirs get together and have a “Big Sing” which is an afternoon of singing and laughter. Last December was the first time my schedule would allow me to go to the Big Sing. It was amazing to hear all 3 groups singing together and there was lots of magic happening.
With the support and encouragement from this group, I have found “my voice”, this is something that was taken away from me long ago. I still have moments of amazement when I hear myself signing. I no longer hide quietly in the back, but belt it out with my heart and soul, this is an amazing feeling. And I always feel better for it.
This has been another amazing leg of my healing journey. When I was in the hospital in February, I had a pass and I went to the Tuesday morning singing. I was in really rough shape, and I did cry when we sang one of the songs, but that’s OK because it means it touched my soul. I am not the only one in this group who has cried while singing. Songs touch our souls, and for me, singing them allows access to those parts of me that have been in the shadows for many years.
Singing with this group has given me confidence, and this confidence carries on into other areas of my life. I have made some good friends and met amazing people of all ages.
This evening, we got together and were being recorded for a CD. We sang in an old church and the acoustics were amazing, the sound was amazing, and yes, the experience was amazing. Are we a group that hits the perfect note and perfect pitch every time? No, I don’t imagine we are, but like the very diverse group that we are, our sound is rich, multilayered, and full of resonance. It is full of life, and love, and soul. This is what happens when you get a group singing together for the sheer joy of singing.I wouldn't want it any other way.
This safe, accepting and supportive group has helped me more than any of them will ever know and I feel as if I am part of this choir community. With hard work and finding my voice I notice that my life is rich, multilayered and full of resonance. Singing has once again helped with my life and touched my soul.
I am fortunate to be part of this community. If you are not as fortunate, sing along with the radio, in the shower or as you drive down the road. You will be amazed at how much better you feel.Give it a try.
These are my thoughts for today.
Cheers and be well
PS- A very interesting study on heart beat synchronization and singing