Everyone Can Sing: Holiday Music Brings Community Together in Song

Caroling & Chorus Music During the Winter Holidays

Singing together with family, neighbors and friends is one way of enhancing children’s language learning. Read more in our archived post, “Christmas Singing for Language Skills.”

A fun holiday tradition, caroling events are wonderful intergenerational events that explore choral music with your family and friends. With many songs sung during the holiday seasons rich in history, there is much to learn, plus it’s good for your health and wellness! Download our Nov/Dec issue of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts to discover more about these annual events.

It’s no secret that music is good for your brain. A Chorus America study found that, while participation in a chorus has benefits for everyone, it seems to have a particularly meaningful effect on children. Children who participate in a chorus were found to achieve more highly in school compared to classmates who weren’t involved in chorus – a statistical representation of the deep learning that chorus participation promotes.

In addition to the learning-based benefits of singing in a chorus, being a part of a singing group helps to ward off chemicals that can cause depression and loneliness. Generally seen as a major benefit for adults, the natural production of extra endorphins and oxytocin (a chemical that decreases stress and anxiety) as a result of singing certainly has benefits for children, too. A singing child is likely to be calm and happy more often than not thanks to the chemicals that choral singing helps to release in their bodies.  Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Holiday Strolls & Community Singing

Hilltown Families on Mass Appeal: Holiday Segment
Learning with Holiday Strolls and Caroling

Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News!  Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield,  joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).

This monthly segment continued on Tuesday, November 22, 2016. In this segment, Sienna and Lauren talked about engaging and learning with holiday strolls and community singing during the holiday season.

Click on image to view video.

Download a copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA for Nov/Dec. (38 page PDF) for the holiday season.


Mass Appeal is a live weekday program that airs at 11am on 22News (Springfield, MA).  Our next visit to the Mass Appeal studios will be December 26th, 2016!

Save

Save

Save

The Kids that Sing Together Smile Together

Study Shows Positive Impacts of Singing

It’s no secret that music is good for your brain. A Chorus America study found that, while participation in a chorus has benefits for everyone, it seems to have a particularly meaningful effect on children. Children who participate in a chorus were found to achieve more highly in school compared to classmates who weren’t involved in chorus – a statistical representation of the deep learning that chorus participation promotes.

In addition to the learning-based benefits of singing in a chorus, being a part of a singing group helps to ward off chemicals that can cause depression and loneliness. Generally seen as a major benefit for adults, the natural production of extra endorphins and oxytocin (a chemical that decreases stress and anxiety) as a result of singing certainly has benefits for children, too. A singing child is likely to be calm and happy more often than not thanks to the chemicals that choral singing helps to release in their bodies. Read the rest of this entry »

The Kids that Sing Together Smile Together

Study Shows Positive Impacts of Singing

Hampshire Chamber Singers at the Hilltown Spring Festival

According to a study by Chorus America, children who sing in choruses have greater academic success and more advanced social skills than children who don’t sing. [Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield]

It’s no secret that music is good for your brain. A Chorus America study found that, while participation in a chorus has benefits for everyone, it seems to have a particularly meaningful effect on children. Children who participate in a chorus were found to achieve more highly in school compared to classmates who weren’t involved in chorus – a statistical representation of the deep learning that chorus participation promotes.

In addition to the learning-based benefits of singing in a chorus, being a part of a singing group helps to ward off chemicals that can cause depression and loneliness. Generally seen as a major benefit for adults, the natural production of extra endorphins and oxytocin (a chemical that decreases stress and anxiety) as a result of singing certainly has benefits for children, too. A singing child is likely to be calm and happy more often than not thanks to the chemicals that choral singing helps to release in their bodies. Read the rest of this entry »

Language Play: Caroling and Language Learning

Christmas Singing for Language Skills

Singing together with family, neighbors and friends is one way of enhancing children’s language learning…

Although Christmas is not part of my cultural heritage, I have always loved Christmas caroling. I like it for the joy of singing in a group to cheer listeners. What a great non-commercial way to give! If I’m outside I like to breathe all that wonderful fresh air, blending my voice with others to make chords. I like the way the words fit the rhythm of the music and that the vocabulary is specific to Christmas. I like learning more obscure gems and music in other languages. About 2 weeks before the holidays, I start wanting music around me while I do chores. This seems to escalate as Christmas draws nearer… Read the rest of this entry »

The Lament of Motherhood

I Know I Lament Motherhood Often…

I know that I lament motherhood quite often. It is just that way in my household. Those boys of mine are maddening. Their struggles encompass me. They become my own by virtue of blame or guilt or just plain ol’ desire to help. When it comes to them, I guess one could say that I tend to be pessimistic, worrying about all that COULD go wrong, and in the last year a lot of that “could” “HAS.” I am not sure if this is a phenomenon every parent experiences or if it is just my neurosis, but I have been a worrier for my entire life and so I guess it isn’t a huge leap that I would approach motherhood in the same way. In a warped sense of logic, worrying about what could possibly happen makes me feel like I would then be prepared if it DID in fact happen—less surprised I guess one could say (You can stop shaking your head. I DO know how absolutely loony toony that sounds..really…I do.).

So when my typically shy-reserved-non-risk-taker son, Aidan, decided to try out for his first choral solo, well…I um…worried. First I worried that he wouldn’t get it. That he’d stick his neck out for the first time (finally) and it’d be chopped off. When he got it, I was ecstatic for him and honored (You see it was my favorite song from my favorite Broadway Musical which is why he decided to try out for it.). But after the initial elation, that familiar worry began to take over.

First I worried, that as a perfectionist, he’d never feel that it was just right. When things like this happen he tends to get surly. Surly brings door slamming and eye rolling and well…no one in the world enjoys that. Then I worried that as a former bullied kid, singing in front of the entire school would open him up to ridicule that, as his mom, I didn’t think he was strong enough to handle. Teen boy musicians tend to take on a certain stigma from the football type bully pulpit. I vividly imagined snickers and epithets even elbows and locker shoves. He’d internalize it and then never sing alone again (even though his voice is truly a gift.)

He spent many days after school with his angel of a chorale teacher practicing and practicing and perfecting. He walked around the house humming or working out a particular line. I sometimes even heard his full voice rise up from the teen palace in the basement. To me, the sound was breathtaking, but the anticipation of the performance itself seemed to be equally as breathtaking.

On the night of the concert, I stood in the back with my toddler daughter. It was easier than to try and get her to sit still in an auditorium seat, but in reality it also allowed me to pace and pace and pace and pace. The butterflies I was sure were so plentiful that they’d rise from my stomach and fly right out of my mouth even though my lips were pursed so tightly with nerves that they had turned white from lack of blood.

All at once it was time, and he stepped down from the risers with his duet partner. The piano washed over me the familiar and moving music and Aidan opened his mouth to sing.  Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Community Chorus Group Welcomes Families to Join

New Singers Of All Ages Are Welcome to Join the Hilltown Choral Society!

According to a new study by Chorus America, children who sing in choruses have greater academic success and more advanced social skills than children who don’t sing. Click on the link below to read more about their findings.

Do you have children that love to sing? Are you looking for ways you or your family can be more involved with your community? Did you know there was a Hilltown community chorus group, the Hilltown Choral Society, and they are welcoming new singers of all ages?

The Hilltown Choral Society welcomes new singers and will hold rehearsals for their Holiday Concerts and Winter Concert on Monday evenings beginning September 14th, 2009 from 7:30 to 9:00pm in the Worthington Historical Society Building (intersection of Routes 143 and 112) in the center of Worthington, MA.

The  Holiday Concerts are to be held on Saturday December 5th and Sunday, December 6th, 2009, and a Winter Concert will also be held on Sunday January 3rd, 2010.

With nearly 10 million children and 32 million adults singing in choruses, choral singing is the most popular form of participation in the performing arts*.

“The prototype of a choral singer is how Americans aspire to see themselves today: as active, involved citizens with a broad range of creative interests and concerns for their communities,” says Ann Meier Baker, the President and CEO of Chorus America.

According to a *new study conducted by Chorus America, choral singers exhibit increased social skills, civic involvement, volunteerism, philanthropy, and support of other art forms, when compared with non-singers.  Read their findings here: How Children, Adults and Communities Benefit from Choruses: The Chorus Impact Study.

For more information about the Hilltown Choral Society, or to reserve a place in the group, please contact Chorus Director, Jeff Hunt, at 413-499-7320 or Jeffcomusic1@aol.com.  Jeff Hunt, is also organist at St. Mark’s Church in Pittsfield, MA.

%d bloggers like this: