Sitting in silence, save the desperate cries of a nearby infant needing a bit of reassurance from his mother, I was prepared to listen to a discussion of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, since we had purposefully congregated on that sleepy New Year’s morning in her honor. But Father Mauricio had other things in mind.
A lover of lists, he suggested three resolutions for the upcoming year, the first being to sing. Of course, he was talking in the context of the mass. “Sing with the angels!” He exclaimed.
For me, this was far from a new concept. In fact, several years ago, my wise friend, Mr. Simmons, explained to me why he participated in the choir. “I need the practice being that I’ll be harmonizing with the heavenly hosts in the future.”
If I pondered the possibility of being admitted into such a choir for very long, I’d probably zip my lips indefinitely. I mean, I can kind of carry a tune, but I am far piece from being discovered by some talent scout combing the Ozarks for the next Female Vocalist of the Year.
However, scientific research actually supports Father Mauricio, and his pleas to raise our voices in places other than the car and shower. Research conducted at the University of East Anglia found that participating in community singing can improve mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.
But it doesn’t stop at mental health. According to the University of Oxford:
The physiological benefits of singing, and music more generally, have long been explored. Music making exercises the brain as well as the body, but singing is particularly beneficial for improving breathing, posture and muscle tension.
I recently read that group singing has the potential to be both exhilarating and transformative, due to the fact that it takes something intimate, a sound that begins from within, and, when shared, comes back as something truly amazing: harmony.
Though not even on the radar for potential resolutions, it seems that if 2020 was dubbed the Year of Cheerful Noise, the impact could be magnanimous!