Q: What is one problem in contemporary culture that you think choir can help solve?
A: Choirs can empower their members to learn how they can express their individuality within a cohesive group.
Our society is ever-more broken down into tiny slivers: micro-cultures of like-minded individuals. More and more often, we are only comfortable interacting within those micro-cultures: with fellow D&D aficionados, within the Pantsuit Nation or commenters on Breitbart, with fellow vegan triathletes. We are less practiced, in 2017, at finding commonality in a group of non-like-minded people.
For the most part, though, that’s precisely what a choir is. Sure, there are choirs formed around a single population or even issue; but generally, choirs are formed from a wider spectrum of peers than your online communities.
Different socioeconomic status, different race, different gender, different political allegiance.
Different musical background, voice quality, musical preferences. Choirs draw from a wider population than our micro-cultures.
What can we do with this knowledge? Empower it. Enable our choristers to be themselves, whatever that means, while still contributing to the common goals of the choir.
Because choirs deal with the expression of human emotion, they are uniquely equipped to address issues of connection and difference. Differences come up as a choir strives for connection; as the choir works through them, choristers learn how to acknowledge differences, find commonality, and work through them to a group solution–all while maintaing their individuality.
This doesn’t happen by accident. It happens when the choir’s conductor intentionally leaves space for connection, creates opportunities for sharing, and empowers individuals to feel safe to express their individuality. In choir, singers can learn to remain true to themselves while connecting to people with deeply held opposite beliefs.
And if they can learn to do this in choir, then they can apply it beyond the rehearsal room to connect authentically, passionately, and positively with the world around them.