P O W E L L, W y o. - If you want to get a lot of the benefits of physical exercise without getting sweaty, just sing. That's what Jan Kliewer, an assistant professor of music at Northwest College, is telling folks about the benefits of joining the Master Chorale, a community singing group that meets for weekly rehearsals on Thursday evenings.
"The sheer act of singing together in a group is an uplifting experience," Kliewer said. "Studies have shown it's good for the body. Because singing releases endorphins and serotonin, you get the same kind of high as when you exercise, that same sense of well-being and physical contentedness."
He also points out this year is a particularly good one to join the Master Chorale. "We're preparing to perform two beautiful Christmas works at our Dec. 13 concert. Besides being familiar, they're just delightful to sing. If this doesn't get you in the Christmas spirit early, nothing will."
The works are Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on Christmas Carols" and Camille Saint Saens' "Christmas Oratorio." The Master Chorale has performed both before in previous concerts, but it's been 15-17 years ago.
"My philosophy about this group is, of course, about singing well, but the overarching goal is to have fun," Kliewer said. "The weekly rehearsals have become a wonderful social outlet for so many of our singers. It's why they come - to laugh, see friends and enjoy singing. This is a strong component of the Master Chorale. I look forward to it just as much as the singers, for the same reasons."
In today's society when people have to choose their activities carefully because there are so many to choose from, the Master Chorale is a "recreational" activity in the truest sense of the word, according to Kliewer, because participants walk away with more energy than they came in with.
The only requirement for participation is to come dressed, he says with a smile. The desire to learn about singing and have a good time is of the utmost importance; singing experience or skill is just an extra bonus.
The Master Chorale meets from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday evenings in Room 48 of the Nelson Performing Arts Center. There's no charge to participate and all music is provided.
Instrumental musicians who are interested in the same community opportunity are invited to join the Northwest Civic Orchestra rehearsals Thursday evenings, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the same room. Kliewer said that unlike the Master Chorale, the orchestra is primarily for musicians who already have some kind of experience and want to continue to play music. Players of all orchestra instruments are welcome.
For more information about either group, e-mail Jan Kliewer, or call 307-754-6475 or toll-free 800-560-4692, ext. 6475.