Singing in Large Groups

Back in May, my e-newsletter from Debra’s Natural Gourmet in Concord contained an event listing for “an old-fashioned sing-along,” including the following blurb:

When was the last time you got together with friends to sing? When was the last time you sang outside the shower?  Doesn’t singing make you feel good?  And singing in a group removes inhibitions, allows you to connect with others, and burns calories (yes, singing does that too!).

My initial reaction (besides that it sounded fun) was: who doesn’t sing?  But then, I go to church- so I sing with other people at least every Sunday. And I sing in my car.  Expressively.  Debra’s email stuck in my head and I found myself reflecting on how odd it would be to never sing in a group.

WELL.  If you find yourself in this sad position, fear not. This weekend my friends introduced me to an excellent opportunity for group sing-along: Jacob Wirth, in Boston. Every Friday night (since 1988!), pianist Mel Stiller sits down at an upright in the middle of the restaurant, and for four hours patrons holler out numbers from a book of songs and everyone sings. Song selections range from Broadway classics to guilty 80s pleasures to pretty much anything you can come up with, and participation levels range from “my wife made me” to “going for a Tony.” (Inebriation levels vary also, but the fun was clean and in the earlier portion of the night I did see a family with kids participating.)

The apex of the night came when Mel called out the number signifying the Les Mis medley.  I had noticed it earlier but never imagined we’d actually get there. I can now proudly say that the highlight of my weekend was standing up in a restaurant belting with hundreds of strangers the rousing chorus of “Do You Hear the People Sing” (all of us hollering in each other’s faces that “this is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!”). Between that and this morning, I am on a singing high. Debra’s right: there’s something about singing in large groups.

I may never reach my high-school pipe dream of being a musical star, but now I know (multiple options!) where I can go if I want to really belt it.  And so do you.

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