On Monday nights from September into May, I join the other members of The Art Mob for a couple of hours of singing. These get-togethers are rehearsals for the six public concerts we perform every year. Singing for our loyal fans makes my heart swell, but even if we never performed for an audience I wouldn’t want to miss the rehearsals.
The Art Mob’s singers, who number 14 at present, have diverse musical backgrounds. Some have luscious trained voices and have performed professionally, and most have sung in other choruses. I have a passable alto voice and a decent sense of pitch, but until I joined the group in 2008, a couple of teenage years in a church choir and a lifetime of accompanying the car radio were the whole of my own singing experience. I’ll never be a Patsy Cline or an Ella Fitzgerald, but I don’t have to be, because it isn’t about me. Talented though some of the singers are, we produce a sound that none of us could make alone, and there’s a synergy to it.
Singing with the group has enriched my life in so many ways. Singing decently requires strict concentration, so it provides a sort of stress relief; if I walk into rehearsal full of anxiety or frustration, the music and the effort to sing well soon override it, and I leave feeling better. Memorizing the music and words for all the songs in two programs a year also helps to keep my brain in shape. Most of those songs are old and obscure, so I have some wonderful music in my head that I’d never have learned on my own. Singing on my feet gives my lungs and legs a workout and improves my posture. Singing gives me emotional exercise, too; every program we put perform includes at least one song that moves me to tears whenever we sing it and others that delight me with their silliness. Having the music in my throat and in my ears makes me happy.
Then, too, there’s the camaraderie. Singing with The Art Mob has given me friendships with some of the kindest, funniest, and most creative people on this planet.
Our next concerts are May 20-22. You’ll find details on the Next Concerts page of our website.