Cantiamo inseime – we sing together.  That is what we do and did the last Sunday in March when we performed our first concert for 2014 at the lovely heritage listed Auburn Uniting Church.

The wonderful Fincham & Hobday organ was in fine voice at the hands of Dr John Atwell.  John played two solos on the instrument and also accompanied the choir with the organ for the very stirring  Hymn to the Republic.  Comments from the audience afterwards suggested this particular piece was a favourite – it was so stirring, gave me a real lift.  A short video from this concert will be posted soon.

We were given lots of great feedback by our audience who really appreciated the variety in the program and also the manner in which it was arranged. People, including those from other quality choirs and our guest soloist Michael Petruccelli, commented on the choir’s excellent discipline and diction and expressivity.  Thank you to our musical director Lyn Henshall for supporting these qualities in us.

We were also fortunate to have our long term member John Williams in our audience and he also gave us great feedback in line with that already mentioned and in addition recommended that we smile a bit more at the beginning (in anticipation as the intro rolls through) and at the end (a smile of satisfaction as you relax and receive the applause). The business of singing from memory brings many benefits we know but the concentration required sometimes means we forget to smile and it is good to be reminded.

John also reminded us about how good singing was for us. This is what he gave us from his recent reading of several articles on the brain and music:

Music has been confirmed as having a profound effect on our brains  –  it can heal, it can stimulate, it can lead to a longer life. Singing from memory, particularly in a group, brings more parts of the brain into an integrated operation than any other occupation, sound, sight, breathing, facial muscles, muscles everywhere.  It reinforces the vital internal network.

The building of tension and its release through satisfaction generates flows of endorphins and particularly dopamine.  They keep the brain tuned and delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimers. That’s probably why many of us here are in such fine fettle, despite the number of summers we have seen go by.   Thank you to my companion singers for keeping my brain fit. I expect to help keeping yours fit for some time yet.

We thank you John for your contribution.  We hope that others out there will read and be inspired to join us.  Not only is it fun but it may very well bring such additional benefits as less visits to the GP and the pharmacy!