Monday, June 05, 2017

Does the choir you’re in reveal your political leanings?

An opinion piece this week based on personal observations.

protest singers
photo by Roger Blackwell

Here in the UK a general election is looming and I’m wondering whether the type of choir you’re in reveals your political stance.

I am a member of the Natural Voice Network. All members believe that everyone can sing and that music-making should be accessible to all.

The starting point for Natural Voice choirs is that they are accessible without audition and without the need to read music. We aim to teach at a pace that accommodates people learning by ear and try to always use clear plain language rather than technical and musical jargon that only people with a formal music education can readily understand. We also aim to be as inclusive as possible regardless of disability, gender, race, sexual orientation, economic circumstances, etc.

My impression is that many Natural Voice choir leaders and choir members are supporters of the Labour and Green parties. It also appears that many in the Natural Voice Network voted to Remain in the recent Brexit referendum. Not all of course!

Meanwhile, in several choir-related groups that I follow on Facebook, it's a different story.

Judging by the comments to questions posed by choir leaders, there is a very different feel to opinions expressed by those who lead more traditional choirs – choirs which audition, choirs which use sheet music, choirs which perform a more traditional repertoire, and which are structured more formally.

There is definitely a more conservative (with a small ‘c’) flavour, a more hierarchical and authoritarian response to any problems with individual singers, more of a focus on the music rather than the individuals in the choir and a tendency to support Brexit views. I would imagine people like that would vote Conservative.

Have you noticed any of what I’ve outlined above? Of course, there’s a certain amount of generalisation involved, but it’s definitely been my observation so far.

Whatever your political views, if you’re a registered voter in the UK, make sure you get out and vote in the general election!

See you on the other side.

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Chris Rowbury



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