Sing Along

Friday, July 12, 2013

Stacy Hornauthor of Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others (Algonquin Books, 2013), explores the benefits of group singing--social, medical, and emotional.

Update: The choir happened! Our singers were:

  • Jessi Hardin, Soprano
  • Mari Schindele, Alto
  • Jeremy, Tenor
  • Tim, Bass   

Alto Mari's chorus, Schola Cantorum on Hudson, is having a Mozart sing-along (no audition). Rehearsals start Tuesday. 

  • Calling All Singers! Want to Join the On-Air Choir?

    We’re looking for four singers to join us at 11:40 to sing a short excerpt of the "Hallelujah Chorus" of Handel's "Messiah". If you know that piece and want to join in, email and put "choir" in the subject line and tell us how to reach you over the phone. Also tell us if you're a soprano, alto, tenor, or bass. We’ll be back in touch with four of you and send you a little more information about the mini choir.

    Here's the version of the piece we'll be playing.


Stacy Horn

Comments [33]

Love the comment from jgarbuz re love of his 'childhood doowop' genre. I too agree, and luckily still sing with two of the surviving members of my 1950's era doowop quintet! And as lame as my knees sometimes are I manage to stand up at times to harmonize with my group due entirely to the 'rush' I get from being with them and harmonizing with them almost as well as I did many decades ago when I was a tenor/falsetto.

Oct. 02 2013 10:55 AM
Brooks from NYC

Stacy, thank you so much!

Jul. 13 2013 04:21 PM
Stacy Horn

The Duruflé piece is Ubi Caritas.

Jul. 13 2013 09:31 AM
Brooks from NYC

This segment included an excerpt from a choral work by composer Maurice Duruflé. Can anyone identify the piece? So beautiful.


Jul. 13 2013 03:00 AM
otherdeb from Brooklyn, NY

It's not only choral music or classical music that evokes these responses. I hang out with a group of filkers (we do "science fiction folksinging"), and we get together every month or so to sing together. Further, we have conventions to get together in larger numbers to sing together. In fact, the NEFilk (North East Filk) organization just had a convention in June, attended by people from as far away as Israel and the UK, and we had a blast singing together and listening to each other. It was one of the best conventions I'd been to in a very long time, and others felt that way, too.

Jul. 13 2013 01:05 AM
A.M. from Tribeca

@thatgirl, I love it. Someone convinced me to view a screening of the "documentary" film "The Artist is Present" (we didn't pay to see it), and I actually found its only slightly veiled send-up of Abramovic's naive self-absorption pretty gratifying. Included in the "vehicle" is a scene in which Abramovic, spurred on by a sexual prospect's embarrassingly clueless "ideas"-- which consist of his own work, including a pretend real-time shooting of Abramovich, being *added* to the MOMA show!--asks the MOMA curator (Biesenbach?) if he will please "allow" the MOMA show to include the young man. The curator firmly and condescendingly refuses permission, explaining that this kind of approach doesn't really fit with MA's work. MA kind of almost hangs her head at this point. Huh? Isn't the artist supposed to be "present"? The scene exposes the embarrassing prospect that Abramovic is, in at least some key cases, executing what are in effect the works of museum curators. More generally, it becomes painfully clear that she ping-pongs co-dependently among the perspectives of the (male) "objects of desire" du jour. Actually, seeing the doc tinged my umbrage with pity, though not for long. Today MOMA is trying to achieve another Abramovich-like "success" by demeaning visitors to the Turrell show with 8-hour lines. As long as somebody's being dehumanized, MOMA and its ilk seem to feel their profit margin is secure.

Jul. 12 2013 01:13 PM
Stacy Horn from New York

I agree with everything being said here (and also about the things we didn't bring up). But I have to say to SottoVoce, I meant to qualify what I said about the golden age, and to say the golden age as far as the introduction of choral singing to America. You bring up some of my favorite singers, and in one chapter I use Victoria as an example to illustrate how and why singing feels so great, and how universal it is. I try to compare how I feel singing it to the first people who sang it (a small group of German seminary students).

Jul. 12 2013 01:04 PM
thatgirl from manhattanhenge

A.M. from TriBeCa - Abramovic has moved to my own Academy of the Overrated/Overexposed--right next to James Franco.

Jul. 12 2013 12:36 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

No worries, Lee!

Jul. 12 2013 12:33 PM
Stella from downtown

Your program reminded me of my father. He had a beautiful baritone, undiminished by age. In the final years of his life (he died at 100), he sang the Hungarian songs that were sung to him as a child, joyfully and without reservation, and I'll never forget how ageless he was while he sang. I also remember him singing around the house while I was growing up - depending on his mood, he sang Paul Robeson's Li'l Gal (a favorite), Viva la Quinta Brigada, sea shanties, songs from Broadway shows and the Carter Family repertoire. He was an eclectic jukebox, and I cannot tell you how much I miss the sound of his voice.

Jul. 12 2013 12:16 PM
Linda from LES

I can't believe they didn't mention Sacred Harp/Shape Note singing.
There's a groups singing every weekend and on Weds. with no choir commitment.
It's the oldest form of folk choral singing in America.
links for all five sings at the bottom of the page

Jul. 12 2013 12:11 PM
Lee from Poop

I deserved that! As well as asking for it. I was actually joking (my own lack of nuance). Sorry.

Jul. 12 2013 12:02 PM
SottoVoce from NYC

Anything that publicizes choral music is great - but would suggest the golden age of choral music is not the 19th century, but rather the 15th-16th centuries. Check out Tallis, Byrd, Victoria, Guerrero, Palestrina, Lassus!

Jul. 12 2013 12:02 PM
A.M. from Tribeca

@thatgirl, thanks! Glad someone else is noting this. There are so many artists and writers of great depth and talent, yet operators so often prevail. And I agree about the mysterious uplift that often comes with harmony.

Jul. 12 2013 12:01 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Nah, Robert from NYC, YOU need a conductor...

Singing/ group singing saved black folk.

Jul. 12 2013 12:00 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

Lee - Sorry that you need such nuance, but I was curious about the supposed science--not yet another POV. Maybe that explains your location.

Jul. 12 2013 11:59 AM
Ivana from Yorkville

That was wonderful! I was practically in tears with pleasure... let's do it again. I've always found that choral singing to be highly therapeutic and could not recommend it more... Euphoria and joy is right!

Jul. 12 2013 11:58 AM
Lee from Poop

thatgirl, if you have to ask...

Jul. 12 2013 11:57 AM

That was awesome. Who cares whether it's awkward? Keep doing them, Brian. You're on a frontier!

Jul. 12 2013 11:56 AM

As Jim from Brooklyn mentioned this sing-a-long business over the phone doesn't work because of the cell phone delay. BLS didn't learn that lesson the first time they tried this?

Jul. 12 2013 11:56 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

A.M. form TriBeCa - Thank you! Stop making Abramovic the cure-all to cancer. She's proven one thing: well-paid p.r. people.

Jul. 12 2013 11:55 AM
Jay F.

What a waste of air time. Why do you insist on these segments? That was painful.

Jul. 12 2013 11:54 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

Oy! Tough to do via telephone!

Can the author explain, briefly, the physiological rush brought about by merely hearing great harmony?

Jul. 12 2013 11:53 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Ms. Horn said the study showed singing in a group made the members' heartbeats synchronize, but they didn't all beat at the same rate. They slowed down & sped up at the same time but not to the same speed, & definitely not w/the beats happening at the same time.

Jul. 12 2013 11:53 AM
Aurgasm from NYC

Nice try - but, everyone's timing reference was different!

Jul. 12 2013 11:53 AM
A.M. from Tribeca

Great segment. But Brian, enough with the Marina Abramovic brain-hook-up references okay? This must be the 25th time you've made a contrived allusion to that segment. And your point here was...oh yeah we did that hook up and we thought our hearts might be in sync but they weren't...Abramovic and her handlers seem to hypnotize mensches as skillfully as the snake in the old Jungle Book animation (which I saw for the first time the other night--so cool). Brian, Brain-producers, please! There's no there there, dudes. Let it rest.

Jul. 12 2013 11:53 AM
Robert from NYC

See why you need a conductor.

Jul. 12 2013 11:53 AM
John A

Science in support of religious service? Guess that was necessary. Hope this sells well.

Jul. 12 2013 11:50 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

While I enjoy almost every kind of music (except hip hop), the one genre that brings me up is that of my childhood -Doo Wop. Nothing takes me out of my blues faster than those simple but happy acapella doo wop harmonies.

Jul. 12 2013 11:50 AM
Robert from NYC

I could do the baritone/bass part. I know it by memory since my NY College of Music days in the 60s when all of us had to sing the the college choir for at least one semester. Ah I miss those days.

Jul. 12 2013 11:50 AM
Connie from nj

I've been in an amateur a capella group for 30 years, off and on. It's like my second family (complete with the dysfunctional relationships). I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Jul. 12 2013 11:48 AM
Francine Sussman

I have a tenor for you. Please send details to my e-mail and I will forward them. Thanks

Jul. 12 2013 11:03 AM
jim from Brooklyn

Do you mean sing over the phone? Because there was a "jam session" last week I believe on one of the WNYC shows and it came off a little awkward. The problem being modern digital cell phones have a slight delay. Which is usually unnoticeable in a speaking conversation, but it makes it very difficult to sing in time with music...

Jul. 12 2013 10:46 AM

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