MFC and NSSO at Birmingham Symphony Hall
Why Sing?! Why MFC?!
Music has been part of my life since age 5 - learning the piano, squeaky recorder playing, clarinet playing in county music bands and orchestras and then going on to study music at Birmingham University. Somehow I took it for granted that music would always be at this level and forever..... After a career move into HR/Learning & Development and Consultancy work, with the music world awash with professionals, my clarinet stayed in the box and I sang when no one was listening! Other activities took over from horses to motorbikes!
Hark - the Angels Sang!
Nearly a month since our performance of Belshazzar’s Feast and I’m still on a high of exhilaration! I still can’t quite believe we pulled it off but the excitement and huge sense of achievement will linger in my memory for many years.
For six months, fragments of Walton’s hugely challenging work have haunted me but how worthwhile were the almost daily post-lunch note-bashing sessions, earphones shutting out all other distractions, as I listened to the Cyberbass rehearsal files before graduating to YouTube recordings of how it should really be sung. What a great way to while away tedious car journeys or empty carriages on long train trips as other passengers move away from the strange woman with the earphones and weirdly printed book, manically nodding her head to some unheard rhythm and mouthing silent words! Ah, those rehearsal files – they sound dreadful but what a boon for inexperienced singers like me, with very little knowledge of the major choral works and no access to a keyboard. And the elation when I thought I’d finally mastered a tricky passage only to discover at rehearsal that what seemed achievable in my lounge deserted me in Chase School Hall!
This is why I joined MFC, to be really challenged and to learn to love demanding music, to share my joy and fears with fellow-singers and finally to come together to create something special. Thank you, Richard, for giving me this tremendous opportunity – and for helping me discover that I can occasionally sing a top A without panicking!
An elated second Sop
Thank you so much !
Putney has 36 bubbling happy singers; they are exhilarated after their weekend spent in Malvern. The whole experience of coming to your wonderfully atmospheric town and singing Walton's masterpiece with such a warm friendly choir added up to a really memorable week-end.
Thank you for your hospitality. Thank you for the magnificent spread in the Great Malvern Priory. Thank you for organising our vocal scores. Thank you for letting us come and sing with you.
I look forward to conducting some of you when you join the 1885 Singers for a performance of The Dream of Gerontius on 14th October.
Singing is Good For You - more evidence
Professor Stephen Clift and Consultant Andrew Patton have provided the BBC with further information on why Singing is Good For You ...
One study revealed that after just 40 minutes of group singing, cortisol - the stress hormone - had fallen much more quickly than it would with the normal passage of time.
Our cortisol levels normally taper off at the end of the day but by singing, the process can be speeded up.
The act of singing causes the body to release endorphins, which are the body's feelgood chemicals and associated with pleasure.
Singing makes us take deep breaths, which in turn increases blood flow around the body and helps increase the endorphins' effect.
It's been found that we get a similar endorphin rush when we laugh, or eat chocolate.
Singing triggers the release of dopamine.
This is an important neurotransmitter that is linked to basic human biological needs.
One recent study found that we release more dopamine when we hear music which we enjoy.
The researchers also found that increased dopamine production was linked to that shiver-down-the-spine feeling we experience in response to singing pleasurable music.
Dopamine is also linked to less tangible stimulants such as falling in love.