Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Moo Choir; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images, Our Columnist Looks at the Explosion in Communal Singingthe Naked Eye

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Moo Choir; in the Latest in His Series on Striking Images, Our Columnist Looks at the Explosion in Communal Singingthe Naked Eye

Article excerpt

Byline: Charles Saatchi

HOW many people do you know who sing in a choir? More than you probably realise -- if there was a chorister app equivalent of Grindr, you would see you're never more than a few metres away from an enthusiastic community singer. There has been a nationwide boom in new choirs being formed, vastly expanding the 25,000 that existed a decade ago.

Choirs may make you think of primary school music lessons, or perhaps your granny's social circle, but no, they are now perfectly cool. Gaggle is an experimental all-girl choir that samples dubstep and electro beats and has become a festival favourite. Singer Ellie Goulding has worked alongside the London Community Gospel Choir on some of her hits.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that the heartbeats of choristers synchronise when they sing together. This has a calming effect, and some hearty choir practise is apparently better for your wellbeing than a yoga session.

The relaxing effects of warbling along spiritedly to Adele's Rolling in the Deep seemingly does wonders to release the tensions of a tough day at work.

Voce Chamber Choir member Christina Kenny is lyrical about the benefits. "I know I would be far more stressed if I didn't sing. My job isn't creative, so I love the challenge -- the sense of achievement of transforming a piece of music by working together in unison to create a fantastic sound. It's enormously gratifying."

Suzie Jenning has slept better since she started singing last year, and has noticed a positive mental effect. "A few months ago I was made redundant on the day of choir practice," she explains. "I went along feeling pretty depressed, and while singing didn't solve my employment issues it made me feel a million times better."

A joint study by Harvard and Yale universities reported that choral singing in a local town had even increased the residents' life expectancy. …

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