Monday, 3 October 2016

Nothing activates as many areas of the brain as music. Singing is a stimulating experience which triggers all sorts of positive energy in the mind and body. Social interaction is the best way to shake off the blues. Put it all together and you get Choral Singing at its best.

This is the philosophy that underpins Singing For The Health Of It. This is an adult Rock ‘n’ Roll choir, open to men and women of all ages. Since starting up in 2013, it has built gradually into a focussed and committed team. New members are welcomed and included, building on the positive energy, fun and friendship that are well established in the group. To join, a new member needs to be able to sing in tune and to make the time commitment to the team. Learning CDs and sheet music help the individual learn their part, but only rehearsing together makes the choir. This is where the team gels and the sound blends, as the singers listen to each other, rely on each other and are led to a unified sound by their conductor (me!).

Exploring the Rock ‘n’ Roll genre is fascinating. Choosing songs that translate well into a choral setting, finding or writing the arrangements, bringing out the character of each song, its message its jokes and its energy, making it interesting to sing for each voice in the room, all contribute to the success of the choir. The best fun is had in identifying the vocal techniques required to sing these songs, then teaching them to the choir, sometimes with hilarious results. The Buddy Holly hic-cup, for instance, is not as easy as it sounds!

Now in its fourth year, SFTHOI will perform and workshop in RehabCare, Sandymount during National Choral Singing Week for Mental Health in October. National Choral Singing Week is a great innovation by the AOIC. It gives us the opportunity to focus on the many physical, mental and emotional benefits of choral singing and to share it far and wide. We all know there’s nothing like a good oul’ sing in the bath or the car for letting off steam. In a choir, working with other people in a team adds the focus and social connection that everyone needs, but because there’s work to be done, there’s less pressure on the individual to interact socially, it can happen gradually in a safe environment. National Choral Singing Week is only one of the many initiatives of the AOIC, but like all such things it only works if the members ourselves get involved and do our bit. They provide the Facebook page – we should be posting on it!

Next on the SFTHOI calendar will be one or two Christmas performances for charity. We love to perform in fund-raisers and charity concerts, as it usually means sharing our music and joy with other music groups and musicians as well as with the audience. All invitations are seriously considered.

Singing For The Health Of It does exactly what it says on the tin. Every rehearsal ends with myself and the choir members tired, but fizzing with energy and standing around chatting for ages before going home. Every performance likewise - I have a great time, the choir members have a great time and, most importantly, the audience has a great time. What more could you want?

Liz O Connor- Conductor, Singing For The Health Of It