People Who Need People

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

I’m really looking forward to this term’s musical theme: People Who Need People.

Why did I choose this theme?

I’m an introvert by nature. Yup. It’s true. I function as an extrovert when directing a choir, but I’m happy to have a day by myself to recharge my batteries. I’ve had to learn the value of community and being surrounded by people who care. Interestingly enough, the research is showing in spades that being in a loving community makes our brains healthy. Not just emotionally, but it actually CHANGES our brain chemistry. We NEED people in order to stay healthy. The communities that live longest in the world are the ones that have the strongest social connections (oh, and drink red wine…just sayin’). And when it comes to a disease like dementia, the presence of people in our lives who understand and care about us is all the more imperative.

We need each other.

In a world that depends so much upon communicating thorough social media, we are learning that nothing can replace one-on-one, authentic, caring and loving community where we can belong.

So, this semester’s music theme reminds all of us that we need people in our lives.

When I choose music, I try to vary the era, the style, the tempo, the vocal colour and the difficulty level. I like adding movement just to challenge each of us a little. This term’s music spans well over 100 years’ worth of music. Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two) was written in 1892 and You Raise Me Up was written in 2002.

As you know, this is more than just a sing-along – I like to stretch you vocally and believe that you can do this. I have seen it. Our warm-ups are a really important part of the rehearsal. They are like aerobics for our body, lungs, vocal cords and ears. If you want to improve your voice, warm-ups will help you extend your vocal range and strength.

In addition, some of our singers have discovered that practicing at home (with the CD or Dropbox link provided by the choir) is a great activity that can be shared together. I hear at least once a week from those who say that they were singing together in the car as they practiced their songs. “Like a couple of teenagers” was one comment.

We know what music does to us when we sing as a group, but you can still share in the positive outcomes of music with one another at home, in the car or even share it with your family or friends. Let them know what you are singing– who knows, they might even want to join in!

Music is great. Music together is even better.