11th October, 7-30pm, Coniston Hotel
25th October, 7-30pm, Coniston Hotel
1st November, 7-30pm, Coniston Hotel
15th November, 7-30pm, Coniston Hotel
29th November, 7-30pm, Coniston Hotel
Voices of Craven (VOC) members were delighted that, following recent editorials in the Craven Herald and in the Gargrave and Malhamdale parish magazines, new members have been coming along in number to our recent rehearsals.
With an exciting and varied programme led by our Musical Director, Darren Everhart, and accompanied by Ellie Everhart, our talented rehearsal pianist, new and established
members alike have been having great fun whilst working hard towards our forthcoming concerts.
We mentioned in our editorial pieces that music-making is good for us both mentally and physically, and this has been borne out in the smiling faces and lively chatter at the end of rehearsals. In addition, the break for refreshments has seen everyone enjoying the social benefits of being a VOC member.
When I officially took on the role of Choir Librarian, I did feel that I ought to try and look the part by investing in a tweed suit, horn-rimmed glasses and sturdy brogues, but those of you who know me well will vouch for the fact that I am much more likely to be seen in gym kit and trainers. I am very keen on keeping fit. Indeed, fitness has been a lifelong habit and routine which provides me with hours of enjoyment…. and gallons of sweat! It also gives me an excuse to wear some age-inapproriate Lycra outfits, an added bonus for me, if not for the general public! In addition, it means that I am able to carry heavy bags of music to and from various places, dart about at rehearsals if members can’t locate a piece and, as long as I don’t put on any weight, means that I can negotiate the very narrow store cupboard at The Coniston where our music and other choir-related items are stored.
As a fitness enthusiast, I am very pleased that singing, along with its spiritual benefits, provides many physical health benefits as well. I have been involved with music, one way or another, for as long as I can remember, but it is only in joining VOC that I began to sing with others on a regular basis and noticed at first-hand just what a great activity it is in terms of improving various areas of physical fitness. I thought that it might be of interest to share a little information on this aspect of singing, a subject which, I notice, is discussed and written about much more frequently as we all seek ways in which to improve our health, particularly as our life expectancy, and our desire to enjoy our extra years to the full, increases. There is a lot of research and information on the subject, but, in order not to bore you with statistics, I have highlighted just a few.
Strengthen your immune system Research has shown that singing improves the immune system. Listening to music has a similar effect. As VOC members, we obviously sing, but we also listen when other sections of the choir are practising their parts, so we are getting a double benefit here.
Give yourself a workout
My idea of exercise is an hour in the gym, a run in the fresh air or a swim, but singing also provides a great workout. After a full rehearsal, the endomorphins are whizzing about and I know that my diaphragm and lungs have been used extensively. Having the opportunity to strengthen your diaphragm, stimulate your overall circulation and increase your aerobic capacity whilst having fun is a winning combination.
Improve your posture
Good posture becomes a habit when you sing regularly. Expansion of the chest cavity and correct alignment of the shoulders and back are just two of the many physical benefits of singing. You will really notice an improvement in your posture particularly if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk or slumped on the sofa. I always feel about two inches taller after a good sing.
I wasn’t surprised to learn that singing improves sleep ( not during rehearsals of course) , but I was very interested to learn that it can stop snoring. I am sure that many of you know of individuals who might benefit from this unexpected aspect of choir membership. Indeed, I feel sure that registration forms will be flying off the shelves at this news!
I hesitate to make any promises about this one, but I can tell you that the ability to rise from a seated position unaided is considered by many experts to be one of the indicators of longevity. As we stand up at many of our rehearsals and practise doing this neatly for our concerts, we can only be doing ourselves in general, and our quads and glutes in particular, a lot of good.
I do hope that these few lines have given some food for thought. There is endless information out there on this subject if you wish to learn more. In the meantime, know that you can leave rehearsals feeling not only fulfilled and uplifted, but also having improved areas of your functional fitness which will have a positive impact on every aspect of your life.