By Michael M. Richardson, MT-BC Music Therapist, Integrative Medicine Center
It's true that very few people lack the needed physical requirements to sing. Aside from those with vocal disabilities or who have amusia, a rare disorder that causes a problem with singing or hearing pitches, everyone can sing.
My experience is that many acceptable singers don't sing in groups because of negative experiences with teachers or choir directors.
I think if you like to sing and have ever thought about being in a choir you should do it. Just find one that works for you and go for it.
The Celebration Singers are a choir program at MD Anderson that is open to anyone who has cancer or has completed cancer treatment, or is a caregiver or family member of a patient.
Along with my degree in music therapy I studied choral conducting, and over the years I've directed several choirs around Houston. While developing programs for the Integrative Medicine Center at MD Anderson, my colleague, massage therapist Sat-Siri Sumler, suggested we start a patient choir.
We asked patients, caregivers and family members to join, and from there the group began to grow. Our name came from a contest winner in fall 2005, and then we began advertising to find singers with the slogan: "Your voice and a smile!"
By Jan. 10, 2006, the Celebration Singers were ready for their first rehearsal and in March we performed a program of St. Patrick's Day music in the lobby of the Clark Clinic with 10 singers and a teen patient playing oboe.
Singing support group
Through the years I've been blown away by the support the members provide to each other, we are not just a choir we are a "singing support group."
When people approach me about the choir they ask two questions: "When do you rehearse?" and "What kind of music do you sing?" The answer is that we sing what works best for our group. We sing a little bit of everything.
Our first rehearsal is Tuesday, September 11, 5:30-7 p.m. and every Tuesday after that, September through June, at the Mays Clinic, Integrative Medicine Center, room ACB2.1041A. All are welcome.
For more information on the Celebration Singers, contact Michael Richardson at 713-563-0858.
Watch as the Celebration Singers perform at the Rotary House.