Louise Minchin on carol singing
PUBLISHED: 09:41 12 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:41 12 December 2017
Singing is not Louise's biggest strength, admits the Chester-based BBC TV presenter, but the joy of choral singing many years ago remains with her to this day.
I have loved carol concerts ever since I was lucky enough, aged about 12, to sing with Bach Choir in The Barbican in London. Much to my parents’ surprise, and my own shock, as I wasn’t a brilliant singer, after an audition at school,I was offered a small part to perform Handel’s Messiah with a full orchestra and dozens of choristers.
In rehearsals I was terrified, I had never even seen a conductor before, and had no idea what all his extravagant hand signals meant but I followed as carefully as I could and there was no turning back. When the day of the concert arrived my Mum and Dad made a special journey to London to watch, and I can remember feeling small, insignificant and overawed as I strained on my tip-toes perched on the giant stage to catch a glimpse of them in the audience.
I was beside myself with nerves, but as soon as the performance started I loved it. The music seemed to vibrate through me and I was swept away by the joy, exuberance and vibrancy of the voices enveloping me. When my big moment arrived, to sing the Hallelujah Chorus, all anxiety disappeared and I sang my heart out. As I did, I caught a glimpse of my parents...both fast asleep. After two hours of intent listening, they had missed my bit!
Never again have I reached the dizzy heights of singing with a professional choir, but that experience left me with a life-long love of a good old sing along, whether it is karaoke or a carol concert. This still causes problems for my family, but of a different kind, as I’m no longer a tuneful singer, and I join in far too enthusiastically for their liking in the chorus at a Christingle.
I’m far from alone in finding that singing makes me feel happy. This Christmas on BBC Breakfast we’re going to look at the power of singing together and investigate why it makes us feel better. Science has shown that when we join voices, our hearts beat in unison, we breath in time and chemicals are released reducing stress and lowering the blood pressure. To put that theory to the test, my co-presenters and I are hoping to sing together in a special festive performance and see how much we enjoy it. Merry Christmas!
I’m looking forward to
Singing loudly and hopefully tunefully at Christmas carol concerts
I’m not looking forward to
Coping with my nerves if I have to sing in front of a live audience.