August 15, 2022


Make Somone Happy

Tunes, singing and community in a world pandemic

4 min read

Each other Wednesday, my ritual had develop into this sort of that I was lucky more than enough to commit 90 minutes singing and teaching and mastering tunes with the volunteer choir at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury.

As the music director at UUCD, I am the beginner to the team since I started off in Might 2019. Many of the singers and musicians have prolonged been a component of this congregation and welcomed me with open arms and minds.

Rehearsals had been brimming over with singing and storytelling and laughing and annoyance with new music and intricate harmonies and grappling with how to immediate a choir and accompany them on piano simultaneously, all although trying to be certain correct pitches and proper model and diction for the music, not to mention lyrical interpretation and communication. Any person who has at any time designed tunes or art understands how sophisticated and difficult it can be. But, the camaraderie, friendship and electric synergy we would realize superseded any of the complexities.

Exploration has indicated lots of occasions over that when we sing with each other, we are more healthy and happier. Genuinely.

Jacques Launay, a Postdoctoral Researcher in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, states, “The physiological added benefits of singing, and music additional normally, have extensive been explored. Audio producing physical exercises the mind as properly as the body, but singing is notably advantageous for strengthening breathing, posture and muscle rigidity.”

Launay continues, “Improved temper possibly in part will come right from the launch of positive neurochemicals these as β -endorphin, dopamine and serotonin. It is also probable to be motivated by alterations in our feeling of social closeness with other people.”

Social closeness with other individuals.

For the myriad reasons I like singing with other folks, I’ve once and for all discovered that social closeness with many others is exactly the cause I retain accomplishing it. So a lot of what we do in a congregational location is rooted in this strategy of togetherness and neighborhood.

When everything arrived to a screeching halt in mid-March 2020 as the COVID-19 world pandemic started to rear its hideous head in the United States, I felt fully shed. How could we hold owning solutions? What in the environment am I heading to do for the tunes? I’m the audio director. I guess I’m meant to know what to do? But, all of this was new and I undoubtedly experienced never ever considered that we would at any time not be alongside one another on Clapboard Ridge Highway.

Enter Zoom.

We, at UUCD, are extremely fortuitous to have a congregation with infinite gifts. Just one congregant and congregational chief experienced by now invested many yrs running on the web situations for many corporations via her very own corporation, The Creter Team. She was substantially farther in advance of the video game than any of us. She patiently taught us, rehearsed with us, issue solved seem problems, helped strengthen backgrounds and screen positioning, and presented an incredible amount of complex aid. That which felt difficult speedily became possible. We pivoted to solutions on Zoom and have not stopped considering that.

Admittedly, at the commencing, I was not notably optimistic about how I could at any time try to lead a group of people in music devoid of in fact listening to any of them sing. But, somewhere together the way, it commenced to truly feel somewhat, dare I say, regular?

When I am hopeful that we are viewing a glimmer of light at the conclusion of a under no circumstances-ending tunnel, I have located “social closeness with others” via new music to be one particular of the only points I can rely on in the course of this bizarre time. Turns out, it was bodily distancing additional than social distancing.

I have produced an even additional profound gratitude for UUCD, its people today, the music we make and our determination to remaining in local community irrespective of what has felt like impossible circumstances. As we in close proximity to a whole calendar year of being not able to be collectively in the similar place, I am longing for the day where by I can hear their wonderful voices in harmony ring out by means of our halls. This will certainly pass and when it is in excess of, those people voices are likely to seem sweeter than they at any time have ahead of.

Jerry Phelps is the audio director at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury, 24 Clapboard Ridge Highway, Danbury, CT 06811. He can be contacted at [email protected]