Recently, there has been a lot of conversation in the news regarding exactly what music, singing in particular, can do for the human condition and being. Many of you possibly read an article printed on the CNN Health Site which stated that feeling of connection one experiences while singing “may have a physiological foundation. A small study suggests people who sing together have synchronized heartbeats.” This fantastic article began an even broader conversation, both among musicians and scientists alike, on what the merits of music might truly be.
Let me take a moment to introduce myself: my name is Joshua Harper, a new faculty member in the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Williston. This year, I will be conducting The Caterwaulers, The Widdigers, The Middle School Chorus, and the Teller Chorus. If my course load does not tell you a little something about myself, I will just come right out and say it—I love choir, and I love to sing.
This year, my primary goal is to encourage students not only to use music and singing as an outlet for expression, emotion, and community, but also as another portion of a well-rounded and balanced education and lifestyle. However, with all the media attention on the benefits of singing, and the school’s renewed focus on wellness, I would like to advocate that music can also be a form of keeping one’s self “well”.
There is another article that has received a lot of attention in the past few weeks titled “Ode To Joy: Join A Choir, Science Shows It’ll Make You Feel Better.” I found this article moving for a number of different reasons, and I hope many of you will take the time to read and contemplate its claims and ideas as well.
The sentence which struck me the most upon my first read was the author’s statement which claims that the answer to her “euphoria” in the ensemble world is in the study of harmony. The author backs this up by saying,
“Because the world doesn’t open up into a million shimmering dimensions of hope and possibility when I sing alone, or even with other people in unison. It happens when I’m surrounded by my fellow choristers, and all the different sounds we’re making combine to leave us thrumming in harmony—lit up together like fireflies flashing in synchrony by whatever masterpiece is currently racing through our brains, bodies, and hearts.”
There are a lot of choices, both academic and extracurricular, here at Williston. However, I want to invite the students here this year to join one of our choirs.
We have The Widdigers and The Caterwaulers, which are auditioned groups that meet during the academic day, the Middle School Chorus, which is brimming with energy, and also The Teller Chorus, which is considered an after school activity. Whether you know how to read music, could sing “It’s A Small World” before you could speak, or have never set foot in a choral rehearsal before, there is a spot for you to sing here at Williston.
It’s a proven fact, music will make you feel and be better. I am so excited to get to know the community of this campus, and I hope if you have ever had a desire to make music with a group of people—doing something that is bigger than you, me, or Miley Cyrus—then you should get in touch with me and find where your voice fits in at Williston.
Because it does.