THE PURPOSE OF WHYWESING
WhyWeSing was set up by Sam Evans. It is about giving people a space to express what their choir means to their lives. There is plenty of research into the benefits of singing, and statistics that show how many people engage in group singing of some kind every week (2 million people, by some estimates). However, research and statistics can’t beat the power of real people telling their own story in their own words. That is the reason WhyWeSing exists.
Covid-19 has had an enormous negative impact on singing. This is partly because of the facts of how the virus is transmitted, but also because of the beliefs about singing that have taken hold among society and among those in power. At Stage 3 of the “roadmap” in England, choral singing suddenly and without warning became the most restricted indoor activity of all. The decision was taken by politicians on the advice of public health officials, but as yet no scientific justification has been forthcoming.
Restricting indoor amateur singing cannot be seen by Government as a “zero-cost option” - because there is a cost. Singing together with others can be so powerful in alleviating loneliness and isolation. These are problems which are particularly acute at the moment. It also helps support out mental health, and builds a sense of community (click on the Research Bank page to learn more). If a politician is too busy to sit down and read academic papers on this, then they can browse the testimonies on this site, such as the one from Jo, who sings with a community choir:
“I have had young onset Parkinson’s for over 15 years, which over time has resulted in a drastic deterioration in my ability to speak and be heard, which in turn has affected my self-confidence, leaving me feeling isolated and alone. Singing has given me my voice back. By singing I am saving the NHS money by not having speech therapy.”
Or this one from Chloe, who also sings in a community choir:
“Singing in our choir has changed my life for the better. I feel I have found my voice, literally and metaphorically. I have gained confidence, increased wellbeing and my lung capacity has increased. The choir is not only a group of singings, but a huge family within the community.”
Reading through the testimonies on this site reinforces so powerfully the reasons Why We Sing.
Sam Evans began singing in his local Parish Church in Kingston aged 8, and has been singing in choirs ever since. As a professional baritone, he has sung for 20 years with the Monteverdi Choir, as well as with almost all the other professional consorts in the U.K. He now directs choirs of all kinds. He is Music Director of Battersea Choral Society, and founder director of Battersea Power Station Community Choir. He conducts the workplace choir at Kew Gardens, and a ladies choir based in London called Barcarolle. He has previously been Choral Director at the University of Reading, and conducted the choirs at Kingston University, which included setting up a new community choir, the Kingston Singers. He was previously Music Director of a community opera company in south west London called Riverside Opera.
He also works regularly with professional choirs as a Chorus Master. He has prepared the Swedish Radio Choir for performances of Elgar The Dream of Gerontius under Daniel Harding, the Vienna Singakademie for Handel Messiah (also under Harding), the BBC Singers for a performance of Glanert Megaris under Sakari Oramo, and the Monteverdi Choir for Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini under John Eliot Gardiner.
Sam is the founder of OneVoiceCampaign, which works to bring people together from across the Performing Arts to lobby for positive change, and co-founder of Vocal Boot Camp, which provides online and in-person training for singers of all kinds. Visit Sam's website here.