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The Importance of Singing

Saturday 17th April saw the Funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, an intimate, moving service shared across the world and watched by millions. At the heart of this service were four singers and their conductor, an organist, eight trumpeters and a bagpiper showing the power that music has to bring us all together. As a professional church singer myself, my Facebook feed is packed with people that have the same role or interest, and the outpouring of support and the many superlatives used to describe the music at the service have been overwhelming in their positivity.

One particular post however drew my eye. It was posted by Peter McMullin, who has worked at the renowned Music Shop of Blackwell’s, Oxford:

“Would it be worth reminding Mr Dowden at the DMCS that the best of the U.K. was shown to the world today not by footballers scoring goals or celebrities doing celebrity things but by four highly trained singers, one organist, one conductor, eight military brass players and a bagpiper performing absolutely at the top of their game, having been forced into near silence for over a year? Too often these activities are sidelined as being either marginal or elitist yet, when the circumstances demand, U.K. artists step up to the mark and deliver the goods.”

Following from this post, it was gratifying to read Making Music’s Executive Director Barbara Eifler’s open letter to Mr Dowden which questions why outdoor sports and other activities have been allowed to return since the move to Step 2 on 12th April and yet there remain sweeping restrictions on non-professional music making. This is particularly frustrating considering the amount of work that was put in last Summer and Autumn to test and then risk-assess singing so that it could take place in groups in the safest possible way. In addition to this, extra frustration is caused by congregational hymn singing being permitted outdoors as a part of church services.

It all comes back to the benefits of singing in all walks of life, whether it is accelerating children’s learning through song, awakening something thought lost in a dementia sufferer or the innumerable things in between.


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