Even before and ever since wily Odysseus had his men’s ears waxed and his body strapped to the mast has humanity been aware of the magical powers of pure voices singing in unison.
Couple that with large numbers and the magic multiplies. A resonance effect appears to be at work when learnt, repetitive actions are shared among a multitude.
I recently read about the description of a state of joy experienced by troops marching for hours on training drills in the middle of nowhere.
The phenomenon at work, it was explained, was a sort of “fusion of the ego” into an elevated, shared self.
Last night I went to the London Millennium Dome (a.k.a. the O2) to watch my son Niccolò and his class mates join pupils from primary schools across the South of England in a giant performance called Young Voices, an annual event featuring “the largest school choir in the world”.
It was joyfully phenomenal: 7,500 kids singing to some 25,000 parents and relatives in a massive Arena, accompanied by professional musicians, dancers and an exceptional conducting team.
This inspiring angels’ choir was the culmination of months of teachers’, organisers’, pupils’ efforts. My personal favourite was the rendering of Mozart’s DIES IRAE.
Conclusion: the world could do with more singing together.