It is scientifically proven that singing is good for you! Professor Graham Welch of the University of London, has studied the links between singing and health for 30 years and he says the benefits of singing are both physical and psychological.
“Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting.”
That means better breathing and more oxygen. And we forget that most important of muscles, the heart, that pumps blood and oxygen round our bodies day in, day out. Singing gives your heart a real boost.
The psychological benefits of singing are well known. Singing reduces stress levels and leads to a feeling of emotional well-being. In other words, it makes you feel good! And it’s even better if you sing together:
“Psychological benefits are also evident when people sing together, because of the increased sense of community, belonging and shared endeavour.”
Ashington Male Voice Choir are always pleased to welcome new members. Founded in October 1916, they are a friendly group with a common interest in singing and rehearse every Thursday evening in Stakeford, Northumberland.
Malcolm Corbett, a stalwart of Ashington Male Voice Choir, says,
“You know, sometimes you turn up for a rehearsal feeling a bit down or fed up, but then you get stuck into the music, sing your heart out – and you come out smiling!”
When trying to encourage new members they understand that sometimes people might not be too sure what they are all about. Sometimes they might have the wrong idea, so here they will try to set the record straight about some common misconceptions:
1.“You have to be a really good, top class singer.”
WRONG! You don’t have to be like Pavarotti or Russell Watson or even that bloke who flogs car insurance on the tele. (Go compare!). You just need to enjoy a good sing, no matter how good (or bad) you think your voice is.
2. “The choir members are a bit snobbish and stand offish and I wouldn’t fit in”.
WRONG! The blokes in the choir are all “ordinary” folk from all sorts of different backgrounds. Everybody gets on well and enjoys each other’s company, as well as a good laugh.
3. “You have to be able to read music and pass an audition to see how good you are before you can join.”
WRONG! You don’t have to be able to read music and there is no audition. We are a community choir open to any men who want to sing.
4. “The choir only sings high-brow, posh classical music and I wouldn’t like it.”
WRONG! The choir sings a wide variety of music to fit all tastes. We sing popular songs of all kinds and genres, from The Beatles to traditional folk songs, from Elvis to modern musicals.
5. “The rehearsals are really strict and boring and if you sing something wrong everybody looks down their nose at you”.
WRONG! Rehearsals are quite light hearted and enjoyable. Obviously the idea is to sing the music properly and professionally. Anybody can get it wrong from time to time but nobody gets upset or criticises. After all, that’s what rehearsals are for – so we can put right any mistakes.
6. “It’s just a bunch of blokes getting together for a sing without any real purpose.”
WRONG! Not only is singing good for you physically and mentally the socialisation with other people does you good as well. It’s not only good for the members the choir performs at a number of concerts during the year, not only to provide good entertainment, but also to raise funds for local good causes and charities. Every year we select a charity or worthwhile organisation we can try to help in this way.
7. “It’s not worth turning out and missing an evening watching tele”.
WRONG! What can I say? There must be more to life than watching tele every night ……
8. ‘’It would be too expensive. I don’t want to buy a uniform and music’’
WRONG! Uniform and music are provided free. There’s a small weekly subscription after the first six weeks…not much different to buying a tea or coffee.
Hopefully the above might have given local men some insight into what the choir is all about and encouraged some to think about joining. You’ll be very welcome so cgo on, give it a go!