In June, 1500 people, most of them strangers, came together in a decommissioned electricity generating station. Within a few hours, they were singing as the backup choir for Rufus Wainwright performing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Just a few months before that, nearly 2000 people came together to sing When Doves Cry to commemorate Prince — and it all started with two men holding a drop-in singing night.

Wait, what?

This amazing performance was the product of Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman starting a really small, no commitment drop-in singing event called Choir! Choir! Choir! in Toronto. Since it started with just a few people in 2011, Choir! Choir! Choir! has grown like crazy, and now they pack out their rehearsal venue twice a week.

They’ve sung everything from Abba to Rihanna and everywhere from pubs to the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s an amazing testament to just how powerful a force for connection choir can be — not to mention how much people just enjoy singing together!

If you ever doubt the power of choir to connect and unite people, just watch one of their rehearsals.

They record a video of their rehearsals and post them on YouTube, and you can see on people’s faces just how much they’re enjoying themselves. The crowd moves together, their voices mix and complement each other, and they naturally, easily support each other’s singing. While there are some regulars, a lot of the people there are strangers to each other. Yet, they’re connected in this very real, very intimate way by their singing.

And it’s really important to note that this isn’t because they always get it right, or because everyone there is some kind of super-singer. In fact, you can see the connection best in the times where something goes wrong and they all laugh together before fixing it and moving on. They’ve created a space where it’s possible to be comfortable and to trust the people around you, which makes mistakes something to laugh at, not fear.

Choir! Choir! Choir! shows what choir is really about — and its power to reconnect you with yourself and the people around you.

That’s why I started Sing Portland! to begin with, and it’s why I run it the way I do, with no auditions, no hoops to jump through to join; anybody with a voice is welcome. Anytime.

Because it’s easy to start feeling disconnected, not only from the people around you, but from yourself, especially as we all get more and more into our screens and less and less into ourselves. When you sing, you can’t help but be in the moment, and there’s something so incredibly peaceful about that. It’s addictive in the best possible way — and it’s an experience I want every single person to have.

Want to experience Sing Portland!’s version of the joy and fun that Choir! Choir! Choir! brings? We’d love to have you! To find out how and when to sing with us, click here.