Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Choral Singing: The Natural High

Singing in a choir like RPC can be good for you in more ways than one. From Slate, by Stacy Horn:
Music is awash with neurochemical rewards for working up the courage to sing. That rush, or “singer's high,” comes in part through a surge of endorphins, which at the same time alleviate pain. When the voices of the singers surrounding me hit my ear, I'm bathed in dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is associated with feelings of pleasure and alertness. Music lowers cortisol, a chemical that signals levels of stress. Studies have found that people who listened to music before surgery were more relaxed and needed less anesthesia, and afterward they got by with smaller amounts of pain medication. Music also releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of euphoria and contentment.  “Every week when I go to rehearsal,” a choral friend told me, “I'm dead tired and don't think I'll make it until 9:30. But then something magic happens and I revive ... it happens almost every time.”  
Read the whole excerpt from Horn's book. (HT: Shirley Beasley)

There have been songs about the joy of singing since forever, including the Repleatur which we sometimes chant. Since I'm the webmaster, I'll post two of my more modern favorites:

"I Love To Singa," sung by "Owl Jolson" in an early Warner Brothers cartoon.

"Sing A Song" by Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Text of news release regarding chant classes

Reno, Nevada--This September, Regina Pacis Cantorum, Northern Nevada’s traditional a cappella Gregorian chant and polyphony choir, will be offering the public “The Living Tradition of Gregorian Chant,” a series of four Saturday classes on how—and why—to sing this timeless art form. It will conclude with the singing of a Mass on Saturday, September 28.

Effectively eliminated from most Catholic churches after Vatican II, Gregorian chant has made a comeback in recent years thanks partly to its appeal in popular music. This summer, a chant CD by a group of Benedictine nuns topped the Billboard classical charts. Also, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s 2007 encyclical Summorum Pontificum has made the celebration of traditional Latin Masses more accessible. However, chant’s popularity goes well beyond Catholicism, and participants in these classes are not required to be Catholic.

Regina Pacis is privileged to have as one of its presenters Dr. William Mahrt, Stanford University musicology professor, president of the Church Music Association of America, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on Gregorian chant. Also presenting the classes will be Father Francisco Nahoe, OFM Conv., rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral in Reno; Deacon Joe Bell, also of the Cathedral; and Kathy Reinheimer, director of Regina Pacis Cantorum.

WHAT: “The Living Tradition of Gregorian Chant” classes
WHEN: Saturday, September 7, 14, 21, and 28, 1:30—4:30 PM (with 5 PM Mass following the Sept. 28 class)
WHERE: St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral, 310 W. 2nd St., Reno
SUGGESTED DONATION: $25 for the series

Registration is required: those interested in doing so should contact Kathy Reinheimer at 775-345-6106, or e-mail her at bkreinh (at) gbis (dot) com.

St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral website: stacathedral.com
Regina Pacis Cantorum website: rpchoir.blogspot.org

Monday, August 19, 2013

And Now A Word From Our Non-Sponsor

I guess Geico will never be a sponsor of Regina Pacis Cantorum. In this commercial, Kathy would definitely side with the gecko and not the engineer over the sound of the "R":