There has been a lot of talk about ‘community’ and what we mean by it of late. The herd mentality has often been disparaged but there seems to be a renewed interest in the benefit of the collective experience. Welsh National Opera's roots are in the local community, formed by a group of people wanting to come together to sing. This continues today through projects including our Community Chorus. During this lockdown it is what we are finding we in common that is bringing us together, strip us back to basics and what we have left is our voices.
Singing can reduce stress and depression which is especially important now when most of the populations’ mental health may be suffering from imposed isolation. It can be the perfect time to practise for an audition for a choir - not just singing Happy Birthday while washing our hands - although that may help.
Human interaction doesn’t get any more basic and instinctive than singing, ingrained within us starting at primary school, maybe developing into karaoke instead of The Messiah but that’s not to say that will be where your vocal story ends. Indeed hearing one voice can be magical but the sound of many voices joining together in harmony, well, it can quite frankly be a spiritual experience. The adrenaline of the crowd I'm sure is not what people thought they would miss but it is intrinsically what makes us feel human.
Another bonus for singing you don’t need any extras apart from maybe some sheet music - you can practise anywhere - even running across the hills pretending to be Maria from The Sound of Music (on your one allotted daily walks of course.) Speaking of exercise did you know that singing has many satisfying side effects such as strengthening core muscles which in turn is great for supporting your spine, not to mention excellent lung exercises which can be effective for people with asthma? Joining a community choir can also widen your social skills meeting people from all walks of life from students who are looking for professional opportunities to retirees who just love singing.
We know everyone has a list of ‘as soon as lockdown lifts, I’m going to…’ and rush out and get to the pub may be number one for many or finally correct the mullet-style haircut you accidentally gave yourself, but perhaps add singing more to that list. After all who doesn’t love a good sing-a-long in the pub, or at the rugby - it could be called the original community chorus and while Sweet Caroline may not be on the forefront of WNO Community Chorus playlist, we think you’ll find it just as satisfying - if not more.
At WNO we have two Community Choruses that you can throw yourself into; one in North Wales and one in the South. You could take to the stage and be part of one of our live shows like Rhondda Rips It Up!. So sign-up to our mailing list to be the first to hear of upcoming opportunities; we promise a breath-taking world to discover.