I recently read an article by The Dalai Lama and Daniel J. Levitin, titled Suffering, compassion, and being a perpetual student.  The perspective from The Dalai Lama about how thinking collectively restores us to an inner equilibrium especially resonates with me:  “…feelings of compassion, empathy, and loving kindness, which (will) shift our focus outward, restores us to happiness.”  That is what we are all about at First Parish.  And in our lives at church, there is no where that this is more important than in our choir.

Why sing in a choir?

  1. There is the obvious reason about being surrounded by music and sound. You can hear yourself, different from the sounds around you, the harmonies and sound waves resonate through you, warming you indescribably. 
  2. Being with others with the shared commonality of singing helps us all feel connected when we might otherwise feel isolated, even in our church community. Singing together helps us forge social bonds that enhance our lives.  It also give you an increased sense of togetherness that could stave off feelings of depression.
  3. The diversity in the music we sing helps us to embrace differences. Horizons can be broadened just by singing.
  4. Knowing that what your voice brings to the combined choral sound is unique and positive is a confidence-builder.
  5. The physical benefits of singing are many. We learn to breathe better.  I am told that singing helps strengthen the lungs, helping people with asthma.  And because your/our breathing rate slows and deepens while singing, it gives you a profound sense of wellbeing.  Singing improves your posture and tones your stomach muscles—and a strong core keeps you less prone to injury as you age.
  6. It has been said that making music will make you more alert, even smarter. While I like hearing that, it has not been my experience that being a lifelong musician has expanded my intellect!  I am not ruling that out for you.

As our focus turns to Change this month, is this the time to join our choir?  The benefits are many;  I and we would welcome you heartily.

What to expect musically this month:
Saturday, Nov. 12th at the Arlington UU church (630 Mass Ave, Arlington) at 7:30 is the Halilisa Singers performing the music of Nick Page “Shine On”.  There is a $25 charge. 
We are planning to attend!

Sunday, Nov. 20 is the service prior to Thanksgiving, and our choir is singing two short anthems, Love is the spirit of this church, and The English Song of Joy.  These songs are already getting into Advent!

Charlyn Bethell
Music Director | + posts

Charlyn’s professional training has followed two paths: as a professional oboist and as a music teacher and conductor. As Music Director at First Parish, she joins these two paths of her musical life, conducting the choir, coordinating guest musicians, and performing on oboe.