Singing in harmony with others is a joyful thing, even in difficult times
There is something about singing in public that solicits everyone’s attention instantly and demands a reaction. It makes its own weather system wherever it happens. Even singing that is wildly off-tempo and off-key, like drunken karaoke, can’t be ignored. And when the singing is beautiful, it declares the singer’s emotional state and replicates it in the listener, gluing them together briefly in a moment of shared attention.
We have seen and heard this in videos that have emerged from Ukraine in the past few weeks and gone viral. MPs lustily singing the Ukrainian national anthem as they returned to parliament. Parents singing folk songs to their children in underground stations to keep their spirits up. A young girl silencing the other occupants of a Kyiv bunker with a rendition of Let it Go from Frozen. Singing stops us in our tracks in a way that speech rarely can.