It’s one of those things that I know intellectually … but that always shakes me up a little when I come across it in real life: a person who hates singing. I know it happens — and I know from my conversations with people like this that they almost always think they hate singing, when what they actually hate is the style of choir they’ve been exposed to.

So just to be clear, here are four things that choir absolutely should NOT be:

  1. Boring.

Or exhausting, tiring, another homework assignment, or generally one more thing to check off your to do list each week. Choir should be fun! Singing is one of the most natural, human acts there is, and if you’re in a situation where you can barely care about it, that’s a sign you need to be somewhere else.

  1. Centuries old music that’s already been sung a million times.

Look, I know classics are classics for a reason. But some choir directors seem to get stuck on the idea that you have to sing old standards that have been done to death for group singing. Which is, of course, nonsense. Any song can be sung by a choir — just look at Choir!Choir!Choir!’s repertoire!

  1. A test.

For so many reasons. Singing in a choir is about connection, support, really being able to lean into each other and being able to explore your voice … none of which you can do if you’re worried about being criticized or judged.

So what’s choir like, done right? It’s…

  1. An inspiration!

Choir literally inspires you — in the sense that it forces you to breathe deep — and it inspires you in the more general sense of the word. There are lots of reasons for this (from biological to historical), but the best way I can describe it is being deeply connected to something bigger than yourself, and knowing, intimately, that you have a place in that greatness.

  1. A community builder.

Choirs build communities by bringing people from all walks of life together and reminding us of just how connected we really are. On a more practical level, singing in a choir is a great way to get to know people if you’re new to an area or just haven’t gone out that much lately.

  1. Good for you, body, mind, and spirit.

Singing in a choir is great for your health, both physical and mental. As I’ve mentioned before, singing has loads of physical benefits from increased lung capacity to better energy. Not to mention the mental and emotional benefits. As one Sing Portland! member said, “It’s the best therapy $10 can buy.” It makes for a great break from all the things that are going on in the world, and since it’s healthier than drinking and more fun than working out, it makes for a great weekly pick me up!

  1. A chance to discover yourself.

As a society, we’re chronically creativity-starved. In fact Brene Brown found in her research that 85% of people in her study had recollections from school that were so shaming they changed how they thought of themselves — and over half of those were related to creativity. Creativity is such an integral part of a fully lived life, and since human beings are inherently musical beings, choir lets you open that valve and (re)discover just how creative you are, how musical you are, and how natural it is to let that creativity out to play with others.

These are four foundations that I’ve built Sing Portland! on — and I’d love for you to experience them personally. Click here to find out how and when you can sing with us.