Updated: Oct 15, 2018
These are weird and stressful times we're living in. Is weirdful a word? Maybe it should be because these are weirdful times.
But did you know that science says singing is good for you in times like these, especially? Yes, you read that right: Singing is good (free!) medicine. And specifically, connecting with other human beings while you're all singing together (as opposed to just singing in your car or in your man cave) is really reallllllly good for your heart, soul, and sinuses. I made up that last sinus part, but the point is singing in community with others truly rocks.
So why aren't we all singing together more?
I can only speak to my own experience. I love singing in harmony with people, and I can't think of anything else that lifts my spirits as much as belting out a great Bill Withers tune at the top of my lungs with other people. But even though I've technically been a working singer-songwriter for long stretches of my life since the early 2000's , singing with other folks just for the pure joy of it is something I just don't do enough of. I haven't been in a choir since high school, even though I've longed to because...well....lots of reasons. Do any of my reasons sound familiar to you? Can you relate? I don't sing for the sheer joy of it because... 1. Free time? What is free time? 2. I don't really want to sing classical or churchy music and most community choirs are oriented toward those music traditions. 3. I learn better by call-and-response and practice, than I do formal pedagogy, and some community choirs can be intimidating about that stuff.
4. I'm not a big joiner. Churches, clubs, political parties...joining makes me queasy.
5. I am incapable of adhering to Required Attendance Policies. 6. I just want to have fun, like the Cyndi Lauper song. I'm not interested in getting all Sister Act or Sister Act 2 or Pitch Perfect or Pitch Perfect 2 or School of Rock about it by taking a fun thing and making it increasingly exclusive, competitive, and intense. I just want to sing some songs with my friends and neighbors, because it's really fun and good for my soul.
7. I now live in rural Maine and opportunities for this kind of thing can be limited unless you're affiliated with a church or want to sing Bach, or feel like driving long distances.
That's why I'm starting a kinder, gentler community singing group with a (pop) rock-n-roll heart and zero attendance policies. Right here in Pittsfield.
Instead of just wishing some scenario would organically materialize that would allow me to casually bust into a Sly & The Family Stone sing-along with my neighbors, I'M ACTUALLY GOING TO ATTEMPT TO DO SOMETHING. And here's what I'm doing: I'm calling a meeting. It's a re-occurring meeting of hearts and voices where where we sing uplifting pop songs together for a couple hours most weeks. Let's call this re-occurring gathering a chorus. And let's call that chorus The Meeting House Singers.
There. I named it. It's a thing now.
Want to hear more about this thing? Here's my platform: The Meeting House Singers is a community chorus with no mandatory attendance policies or aggressive performance schedules. Our primary intention will be the weekly social gathering we'll call 'a rehearsal', a place where you can sing your heart out in community whether you were a semi-finalist on American Idol or have a tin ear that's legendary in three counties. It'll be a chorus that meets you where you are. A chorus that understands that you are busy as heck. A chorus where you can just drop-in once in a while, and always feel welcome. It will also be a chorus where you can belt out The Beatles, Sinatra, and Dolly Parton after a tough day. And lastly, it will chorus that just wants to have fun. I'll be your musical director, rehearsal facilitator, and Fun Captain. We'll wing it and sing our way through together.
So let's make some noise already!
The first gathering of The Meeting House Singers is Tuesday October 30th, from 7-8:30PM at the UU Meeting House at 112 Easy Street, Pittsfield, ME 04967. And again, no auditions, prior experience, or talent is necessary. It's a brand new chorus, open to any respectful person who likes to sing in a welcoming environment.