I have recently discovered the power of community within a chorus. This is actually a pretty shocking statement, since I have been singing in them for 25 years, went to Westminster CHOIR College and have been directing choruses since I began teaching. To just now come across this discovery is a bit unnerving. Or maybe I’ve just got a thicker head than most.
Whatever the case may be, my current experiment has been yielding amazing dividends in terms of community development. I have started a….dum, dum dum! School Staff Chorus.
Now, I know many schools do this, and I first saw this when I was student teaching, but haven’t tried it until now because I a.) didn’t have the time or b.) heard from staff members that they just couldn’t sing and wouldn’t sign up for one.
But this year, I decided to take a chance and if I only got 2 other people, we could at least have a staff trio. Turns out, a full third of my staff has signed on. More than that, they’ve spread the word and I have requests for sign ups every day.
Staff members are walking through the hallways singing our chosen song for the spring concert. My chorus students are helping their teachers during recess learn vocal technique. I’m listening to people practicing their vocal warmups through the week. And it makes me smile.
When we’re in my classroom, working through a section of the music or feeling stupid singing “I love the spring” in our best Julia Child voices, there’s a sense of community. People who normally don’t speak with each other throughout the day are helping their neighbors to find their part. Yes, they make mistakes and yes, it’s okay. That’s something that isn’t part of our normal school culture and it’s kind of nice.
We’re listening to each other to get a better blend.
We’re going through the process of voice matching to find out where we best “fit” within our group and everyone is important.
We’re adding our individual voices because we have something to say that will sound better as a group than alone.
This is not normal in this school. There is no drama in this room, no craziness, no negativity. Only fun, energetic group spirit to produce something together.
As educators, we can all learn something from the community of a chorus. Next week’s focus will be on professional development, which is essentially the makings of a chorus. Please add your unique voice with ours to create a community discussion this week. We will sound much better together than alone.