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Choirs good for bonding, say academics

13 November 2015


Champions: the winners of the Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year, Agatha Pethers, who is 14, and Angus Benton, 11, pose with (left to right) Diane Louise Jordan, who presented the grand finale from St Martin-in-the-Fields, last month, and the judges: Simon Lole, Suzi Digby, Dionne Bromfield, and John Rutter

Champions: the winners of the Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year, Agatha Pethers, who is 14, and Angus Benton, 11, pose with (left to right) Diane L...

JOINING a choir is a good way to make new friends quickly, research by academics at the University of Oxford suggests.

In a comparison of three adult study groups, organised by the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), researchers found that those taking singing classes bonded more quickly than those taking creative writing or crafts.

Dr Eiluned Pearce, from Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology, said: “I think it’s interesting that there’s been a surge in interest in community singing, for example linked to the pop-choir and rock-choir movements, and perhaps this enthusiasm is linked to a need to feel connected to something bigger than to oneself.

“I think singing together might help reduce isolation and loneliness by helping to recreate the sense of community many of us have lost.”

The WEA project manager, Howard Croft, said: “Feeling connected to those around you, be it friends or family, is one of the key ways to improve your well-being. Adult education of every kind can help improve mental health and boost self-esteem, but singing together is a uniquely communal experience that can foster better relations between people from all walks of life.”

The research is published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.



London church hosts workshop. A project to encourage singing in London churches is holding a workshop next weekend to encourage clergy, music directors, and organists to get involved.

The project, With One Voice: Unison Singing for Your Church, is being organised by the Royal School of Church Music at St Mary’s, Cable Street, in east London.

Alison Fisher, spokeswoman for the project, said: “It was devised specifically to help churches where resources . . . are in short supply.”

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