According to "Singing For Dummies,” many people thoroughly enjoy being in a choir. You get a chance to sing different kinds of music, and you get to be around others who share your interest in music. Making music with a group of people may give you just the balance you need between practicing alone at home and singing with a group.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
According to "Singing For Dummies,” many people thoroughly enjoy being in a choir. You get a chance to sing different kinds of music, and you get to be around others who share your interest in music. Making music with a group of people may give you just the balance you need between practicing alone at home and singing with a group.
The following list details some of the benefits you gain from singing with a choir.
    •    You discover how to listen carefully. When singing in a choir, you have to listen so that your voice blends with the voice of the person next to you, as well as with the sounds of the particular type of song you’re singing. If the music requires a specific style of singing, you have to work to make sure that you’re making the appropriate sound with healthy technique.
    •    You discover how to monitor your sound based on how it feels. If you can’t hear your voice standing out, you have to rely on the feeling to determine whether your technique is still in good shape. Monitoring how your voice feels is a good idea because each room is different — you can’t rely on the sound bouncing back to you.
    •    You get an opportunity to work on your ear. Picking out your part when the other voices of the choir are surrounding you is a good workout for your ear. Solo singers may not have someone else singing different notes in their ear.
The choral singer may be mixed up with other voices singing other parts and may have to rely on her ability to read music or really listen for her note in a chord.
    •    You get a chance to work on your social skills. In choirs, you often find people who like similar music or are inspired by beautiful music. You may feel right at home around people with similar interests, which can boost your sense of belonging.
    •    You can work on reducing your performance anxiety by singing with a group. Onstage with your peers, you may find that your anxieties about performing dissolve. If you feel comfortable within a group, you may be able to transfer that comfort level to your solo singing.
If you suffer from anxiety about singing in public, slowly work your way from singing in the choir to auditioning for one of the solos with the choir.
    •    The challenge and joy of singing in a group may be just the lift you need at the end of a long week of work. Singing is a wonderful release and opportunity to express your thoughts and feelings through music and singing. Joining a choir may give you that regular opportunity to enjoy singing if you just don’t have the time to practice on your own.
The Community Gospel Choir provides an opportunity to those who want to sing. This choir is under the leadership of the Rev. Harry Coleman, a retired Methodist pastor, and directed by Judy Bennett, who has an incredible voice! Pianist for the choir is Flintstone Elementary School principal Sharon Morgan.
Because of the generosity of our neighbor Brian Smith of Smith Funeral Home, we are able to meet every Monday at 7 p.m. Choir rehearsal lasts just one hour, and we rehearse in the funeral home chapel.
At present the choir has a membership of nearly 20 members - all who attend various local churches in the area. Earlier this week we had our annual covered dish supper and we met to determine our rehearsal night, as well as some of the locations where we would like to perform in December and January. Some of those locations include Emmanuel Pentecostal Holiness Church, Westernport United Methodist Church, Grace United Methodist Church, Assembly of God, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, and others yet to be considered, as well as nursing homes.
We are looking to build our membership and add more voices to our growing choir. This season we intend to focus our music on inspiration and uplifting message. We will soon be choosing our musical selections for the season, and hope to be able to bring the message of peace and hope to all those who care to listen.
I can remember when I was a youth in my church choir, and how special it felt to be able to put on that choir robe every Sunday and sing up in that choir loft. Back in those days, almost every church had a choir, and choirs would produce annual Easter and Christmas cantatas. You could go to any church and know that there would be a choir that would be singing at some time during the service.
Unfortunately, that is not the case these days. It is more the norm that a church will NOT have a choir. That is just one thing that I miss about churches today. Music has always been a big part of my life - from learning to play instruments starting in the fourth grade, and then eventually learning to play many different instruments by the time I was a senior in high school. And oh, how I loved to sing!
I'm not a classically trained vocalist, nor do I consider myself an exceptional singer. But, I do love to sing. And, being in a choir is very important to me. There is something very special about blending voices together in perfect harmony.
In the Community Gospel Choir, we have four-part harmony. However, we can always use more sopranos, altos, tenors and bass. My friend Joyce McIntyre, Keyser, and I are the only two altos currently, and we would love to have some more voices join the "alto section." It would also be an honor and privilege to welcome more men to our fold.
Men's voices add such a richness and powerful punch to a worship service.
We all live busy lives...every single one of us. But if you can spare an hour a week to come to choir rehearsal, meet some really nice people and add your voice to our group, we would welcome you with open arms. All you have to do is just show up Monday nights at 7 at Smith Funeral Home, 85 South Mineral Street, Keyser. This coming Monday, Oct. 16, will be our first rehearsal for the season.
Your life will be all the more rich and fulfilling, for what is greater than singing a joyful noise? Come sing with us. You will be glad you did.