Monday, May 29, 2017

Sing Your Heart Out

One of my eccentric friends has this infrequently-visited obsession to get companies to sing. It’s a twist on the Catholic mantra “the family that prays together stays together.” In my friend’s case, it’s “the company that sings together stays together.” It’s singing as a massed team-building exercise, generating huge emotion, drawing stars from right across the ranks, blowing out the frustrations with the minutiae of work for a lung-expanding musical workout. That’s the theory. My friend tested it one day with at a client town hall meeting. The call went out for the best singers in the room to come to the stage. About a dozen people out of 400 got out of their seats (good singers have strong sense of self). And thus the massed singing exercise commenced.

The ability to sing crosses every line that can divide us as humans. So it has been a revelation to discover Choir Nation from Canada. From their About blurb: “Our mission is to bridge the arts and business communities by providing an opportunity for Canadian employees and Canadian musicians to collaborate in a fun, unique and rewarding manner. Choir Nation puts your employees into choirs, pairs each choir with a celebrated Canadian musician, rehearses them with one of our Musical Directors, and then has them perform (with the musician) at your company’s events. Central to the team-building experience of Choir Nation is the rehearsal process – choirs meet once a week with a professional Musical Director to practice the songs, bond with each other, and have a great time singing! In addition to being enjoyable for participants (and entertaining for spectators), choir singing is a powerful team-building element to add to your company’s events.”

Choir Nation is the brainchild of Todd Green, a life-long music fan and Assistant Professor in Marketing at the Goodman School of Business at Brock University in Ontario, and Murray Foster, a professional musician for twenty-five years with over 3,000 live shows and sold half a million records under his belt. He is a Professor of Songwriting at Seneca College in Toronto.

My own singing, such as it is, is restricted to the rugby arenas of Wales and Ireland; 80,000 people singing in unison is a motivating force like few I have experienced. Choir Nation is a great idea and I hope their idea and activation turns into a movement. The world will be a better place if we sing together.