Two years ago, my sister and I decided to create a gospel choir that gave young adults (interested in singing gospel music) a space to grow musically and socially. What started out as a group of five friends meeting together once a week, became a family of people connected through music. Rehearsals became a place to meet and talk about things that we weren’t comfortable sharing with our family members. Rehearsals became a place to forget about stressful things by being absorbed into the music.
Indeed, through music, we became connected in ways we’d never thought possible. What we now had was a group of young adults meeting and growing socially, musically, and even emotionally.
Often, we forget just how much pressure we must deal with as young adults. Worrying about financial stability, or educational direction, or even maintaining healthy relationships does take its toll. It’s definitely worthwhile to take a break from our daily routine to interact face-to-face with other people.
This led us to think about what it means to be a choir. Is it that we are only there to sing to our audience, or is it something more involved?
Well for us, the choir isn’t just the performers, it’s the community connected through music. The choir as community treats everyone equally with love, no matter their background or beliefs. Through music, we become connected and even begin helping people who we don’t know, treating them as we’d treat our loved ones.
We chose to focus on mental health because it is heavily influenced by social interaction. That in mind, we knew for sure that we wanted to take the choir as community and share it with others. The moment we decided to work towards this mission, we received support through donations and even words of encouragement. The result was a successful fundraising concert, dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues, and raising funds to support Stella’s Place.
Yes, what was once a 5-person choir, became multiple bodies in different places and different settings. This cause resonated deeply with many in attendance on the day of our concert. We met individuals in their teens, 20s, upwards to their 40s who were moved to tears because they now had the opportunity to face things they bottled up emotionally. Most inspiring was the genuine connections established because of coming together under a singular and worthy cause.
From this experience we learned two things:
We must always be aware of our own mental health
We can overcome so much if we work together