Rose Wilson

Part of the 'Harmonies of the Huon' Series

Rose Wilson runs choir classes in the Huon Valley and is passionate about encouraging people to sign up.

‘I think many people carry around cultural baggage about singing,’ she says. ‘They’ve been told that they can’t sing. As young children, we sing and skip along quite joyfully, but that idea can soon be knocked out of us as we conform to public etiquette.’

Rose believes this denies people the feeling of connection and joy that comes from music-making.

‘Everyone can and should be allowed to sing,’ she says. ‘It’s not about technical performance, it’s about people feeling free to sing while walking on a beach or sitting around a campfire. Singing is joy, wonderful and accessible, it helps us feel connected to other humans and we should have more of it in our lives. There are many studies that support the physical, social and mental health benefits of singing,’ Rose explains passionately.

In one recent choir experiment, the choir members were monitored electronically, and their breathing and natural biorhythms synced up after a short time. The study, published in the journal Frontiers of Neuroscience, showed that when members of a choir sing together, their heart rates tend to synchronize and beat as one. A team of Swedish researchers discovered that this synchronicity could produce a sense of calm that is similar to the effects of yoga. So, if a group’s breathing is in sync, then it makes sense that the beating of their hearts will be also.

Rose greatly admires the BBC documentary Our Dementia Choir. The two-part series saw acclaimed actress Vicky McClure take a deeply personal journey to discover the true extent of choir singing’s power in combating dementia.

‘Vicky saw the amazing effect the music had in calming her dementia-affected grandmother,’ Rose says. ‘Experts from medicine, music therapy and performance rehearsed with the choir. This is a story where personal achievements meets breaking science.’

Rose completed a Bachelor of Music in Newcastle and has been involved in various musical styles. Joyful a capella choir singing is what she particularly enjoys.

‘New choir members are of course a little nervous at first, but singing in a choir is very forgiving. The experiences can be magical and transformative,’ Rose says.

Rose chooses an accessible musical repertoire that creates wonderful moments, allowing the participants to achieve success in a safe, enjoyable space.

Rose’s three choirs are the Cygnet Song Circle, the Little Boat Choir and a kids’ home school choir.

‘There’s a growing demand and I could run more choirs – if only I had more time!’ she laughs.

Harmonies of the Huon: Exploring the melodies and musings of Huon Valley artists‘ is a Creative Huon series in collaboration with Huon Valley Council and Huon Valley Tas, showcasing the Huon Valley’s musical talents, their inspiration and journeys.

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