I’ve been singing rather a lot recently, and have become somewhat addicted to making harmonies. It all started when I joined the SoulSong community choir at the beginning of the year. (Or maybe it started at the Christmas Eve carol service, when I remembered how much I love choral singing…)
Anyway, after turning up weekly to choir for a few months and learning a bunch of new songs and realising how much fun it is to hold one strand of a three or four part harmony, I’ve been hanging out with fellow harmony addicts on the occasional Friday night as well. We gather around a kitchen table, eat well, consume wine, and then get out the song books. One or two of us will hold down the melody, while the others improvise harmonies to their hearts’ content.
This is on top of our weekly SoulSong gathering, which we manage to extend by half an hour by volunteering to wash all the coffee cups after the others have gone home. The kitchen in the church hall where we meet has excellent acoustics…
What strange paths our lives can take.
A year ago, I never would have predicted that harmony jam sessions would form a new and important part of my social life. I’m hanging out on a semi-regular basis with a bunch of women I did not know this time last year, and loving every minute of it.
Our choir leader flagged an article recently by a researcher (Carol Dore – La Trobe University, Bendigo) who is exploring the lived experience of community singing. She writes:
“Music making and/or listening is thought to result in the release of endorphins into the bloodstream… A surge of endorphins can create a unique feeling of belonging and a strong social bond between people who make music together.”
Speaking from recent experience, I really believe this is true. Singing together makes you feel completely connected with each other. No wonder the tradition of singing is so important in just about every culture.
Our favourite songs to sing in the kitchen include a 3-part arrangement of Hallelujah by Ma Muse (see clip below), and River by Kavisha Mazella (3-part harmony arrangement). Or the latest song we’ve been learning…
This post is a belated response to this week’s WANAFriday theme, which was to share what song is stuck in your head these days and what draws you to it. I invariably have one of the above-mentioned, or one of the other songs we sing with SoulSong in my head — which include folk tunes from all kinds of cultures (in all different languages). And I sing them often.
Check out these other WANAFriday posts on music that feeds the soul…
What song is on your mind today? Have you felt the endorphin rush from singing with others?