Music and Me

By Erica Phare-Bergh  |  Artistic Director  |  Voices in Motion

I wanted to go to Mexico so I auditioned to sing with them. The Vanier Chamber Singers were slated to tour Mexico in the spring of 1984.

I was 17 years old and this was my first choral audition: “Did you hear that you sang that “A” a little flat?” the conductor asked me. “Uh-huh,” I nodded, having no idea that I had. But she let me join the choir anyway.

And it changed the course of my life.

Little did I know how passionate I would become about choral music and its benefits in my life.

I just couldn’t get enough – the harmonies that were created when different voice types sang together – it was magical. There’s something really special about developing an instrument that is actually part of your being. I had always played piano and loved it but learning to use my own voice was completely different and vulnerable.

But it wasn’t the solo singing that interested me – it was singing in a choir.

It’s like a team sport but on steroids: travel, friendships, languages, culture, vocal technique, international festivals, beauty, a sense of accomplishment, discipline, musical architecture, communication, vocal colour, empathy for others…it all came together. Whether we were singing a renaissance motet or an arrangement of a Beatles’ tune – it was something that could only happen in community.

But it’s only been the last few years that I’ve learned more about all the physical, cognitive, and psycho-social benefits of choral singing – thanks to being involved with Voices in Motion, its researchers and singers. I feel truly blessed to be a part of this movement.

I’ve always known that choral music was empowering – now I’m learning the “why?” behind it.