Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, who, for 30 years, has studied the developmental and medical aspects of singing.
“Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the bloodstream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting,”
“Singing has psychological benefits because of its normally positive effect in reducing stress levels through the action of the endocrine system,which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being.”
“Under normal circumstances, most people breathe shallowly, using only a small percentage of their lungs. To sing powerfully and sustain tone, choral singers must tap into their greater lung capacity. This improved breathing feeds the body and the brain with revitalizing oxygen and expels stagnant air, germs, and environmental toxins from deep within the lungs. “
“When you sing, musical vibrations move through you, altering your physical and emotional landscape. Group singing, for those who have done it, is the most exhilarating and transformative of all. It takes something incredibly intimate, a sound that begins inside you, shares it with a roomful of people and it comes back as something even more thrilling: harmony. So it’s not surprising that group singing is on the rise.
As the popularity of group singing grows, science has been hard at work trying to explain why it has such a calming yet energizing effect on people. What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.
It turns out you don’t even have to be a good singer to reap the rewards. According to one 2005 study, group singing “can produce satisfying and therapeutic sensations even when the sound produced by the vocal instrument is of mediocre quality.”
“… while the feel-good effects of singing are well-documented, experts now believe that joining a choir could improve the symptoms of a range of health problems including Parkinson’s, depression and lung disease.
At a conference of the Royal Society for Public Health in London last week, Grenville Hancox, professor of music at The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, Canterbury, described the changes that can take place through singing together as “extraordinary
Lynne Rogers originally studied Theology at Manchester University before travelling to Italy to study singing under Maestro Arrigo Pola, who famously taught Pavarotti. She then studied at Birmingham Conservatoire where she gained a Masters in Performance Studies.
Currently Lynne has a busy career as a freelance soprano, singing teacher and choral director. She is a gifted concert and oratorio performer and gives concerts and recitals regularly. Her broadcasts have included BBC1, ITV, S4C, Radio 3 and she is also a regular member of the BBC Daily Service Singers which broadcasts on Radio 4. She particularly enjoys 20th Century English Song repertoire and has sung in France, Holland, Italy and throughout the UK.
Lynne currently teaches singing at Liverpool Hope University and St Vincent’s School, a school specialising in the education of the visually impaired. She also adjudicates for the British and International Federation of Festivals. She has directed a number of ensembles, amongst which are show choirs, opera choruses and youth choirs. She currently conducts for Southport U3A choir, Richard Hart Singers and of course, Sefton Ladies’ Choir.
Ceri Williams: Accompanist
Ceri began playing the piano aged 9 and the clarinet a year later while at primary junior school. He continued to be involved in music throughout school in orchestra, wind-bands and choirs including playing with the Liverpool Schools’ Orchestra at St. Paul’s Cathedral. He has since established himself as a regular accompanist for singers in concerts and music festivals. Ceri moved to Southport and founded the choir, Octave, in 1998; he has been its musical director ever since.
“Although I have only been with the choir for a year, I feel I am with a happy group of ladies who can forget their problems for two hours and focus on the enjpoyment gained from singing.Sometimes it is difficult as, like many ladies in the choir, I cannot read music, but, with the help of our talented MD we succeed and make a good sound. Its great when it all comes together! I wish I had joined twoenty years ago.”
“I was persuaded to join the choir by my friend who has been a member for several years. I was a bit unsure as I hadn’t sung since I was in the school choir ( many years ago!). The choir members have been very welcoming and friendly and I have quickly felt comfortable at the practices. The conductor Lynne, makes the singing fun and includes fascinating bits of singing theory.I had completely forgotten how much I enjoy singing, so I have a very satisfying new hobby”
Margaret Thomas ( second soprano – and a longstanding member)
“In the early 80’s I had 4 children and a husband who worked all the hours God sent. I felt I needed some ‘me’ time. A friend took me along to Sefton Ladies Choir and it was the best move I ever made. The night I joined, the Choir was having a photograph taken by the Formby Times as they had come first in a Music festival and the room was buzzing with joy and camaraderie – and it has been like that over the last 30 years for me. So, if you want to forget your worries and cares every Tuesday night and make some lovely friendships and , of course, some lovely music, please come along to the Methodist Church Hall, Elbow Lane at 7.45pm. You’ll be glad you made the effort!”