Singer Mary Dennison is taking a new approach to choir singing that’s part of group of sessions she’s conducting in Ladysmith for anyone who wants to explore the mental and physical benefits of being part of a choir.

Singer Mary Dennison is taking a new approach to choir singing that’s part of group of sessions she’s conducting in Ladysmith for anyone who wants to explore the mental and physical benefits of being part of a choir.

Choir singing good for body and soul

Director relies on spiritual, meditative songs instead of written music for group singing

Rick StiebelThe Chronicle

Mary Dennison believes the power of song will cure what ails you.

“Singing in a choir is good for your body and soul,” said Dennison, a former primary school teacher and singer with the Campbell River Singers and the Island Soul Choir. “Group singing has been scientifically proven to lower stress, relieve anxiety and elevate endorphins.”

She quotes a recent article in Scientific American MIND that says, “New therapies are using rhythm, beat and melody to help patients with brain disorders recover language, hearing, motion and emotion.”

Singing is beneficial for people recovering from strokes or dealing with damaged lungs or blocked airways, Dennison noted. Singing in a choir is also helpful for people with multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s as well, she added.

The Quadra Island resident is looking for people to join her choir group in Ladysmith, which takes a novel approach that does not use written music. Instead, Dennison relies on heart-felt melodies, soulful gospel songs, spirituals, meditative chants, layered songs and robust rounds, she explained.

“All songs are taught in the traditional method of call and response, with songs from the sublime to the ridiculous,” she said. “If you’re craving an added boost of feel good hormones floating through your body, join our Sing For Pure Joy! Song Circle.”

The group meets from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the The Lodge at 1127 4th Ave. Although the current session has already begun, it will be prorated for those who want to join now and continue Sept. 24, Oct. 15 and 29, and Nov. 5, 19 and 26. The fee for the full term is $56, or $10 to drop in.   E-mail Dennison at singforpurejoy@gmsail.com, or call 250-202-1003.