Choir aiming to beat the blues

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A choir is bringing science and singing together as part of an experiment into beating the winter blues.

The Local Vocals singing group in Ossett is hoping to find proof that singing can improve a person’s wellbeing by monitoring members’ moods each time the rehearse.

Singing is believed to stimulate the release of the hormones endorphins and oxytocin which are associated with feelings of pleasure and reduced levels of stress and anxiety.

Participants rate their mood on a scale of 1 to 5 with a simple survey they each received through Facebook.

Enthusiastic choir director, Jenna Fan, has been busy compiling her singers’ emotions, before, during and after each rehearsal.

She said: “The Beat the January Blues mood survey was my idea.

“Because I see so many people benefitting from singing I wanted to share this.

“I’ve written a lot about it in my blog and on my Facebook page so I wanted to have some ‘concrete’ results to show that in reality it can make a difference to real people’s lives.

“It was mainly to prove a point, that singing makes us happy.

“I have 18 participants in the survey out of about 30 members of the choir who were asked.

“The response was almost ‘isn’t that obvious?’ but they were happy to join in and help me make my point.

“The philosophy behind it is that everyone has an inner musician just waiting to be discovered”.

Jenna has enlisted the help of Ossett counsellor, Tracy Shields, who has been speaking to the singers also.

Tracy said: “January is a bleak time of year with people feeling blue for a number of reasons post-Christmas, financial worries, back to work blues, miserable weather and illness to name just a few.”

The choir was started by Jenna, who herself sings as an alto in Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir, in September last year.

Free to attend, the Local Vocals rehearse at Newspring Church on Ossett’s Illingworth Street and now has more than 40 regular attendees.

The sessions run from 7.30pm to 9pm each Thursday and anyone is welcome to attend, regardless of experience or ability. Meanwhile, the results of Jenna’s survey are due next week.