Published: 01 June 2020

University choir continues remotely

Liz Franklin-Kitchen, a Centre for Wellbeing Administrator at Surrey, ensures the University choir continues remotely.

Liz Franklin-Kitchen with choir

Singing is known to be able to foster happiness and improve our sense of wellbeing. Research has found, for example, that people feel more positive after actively singing than they do after passively listening to music. Improved mood is thought likely to come directly from the release of positive neurochemicals, but it is also likely to be influenced by the sense of social closeness with others.

“Singing is so good for your mental health, as it releases all kinds of ‘feel good’ hormones into the body. Plus, singing is an aerobic activity and an hour of hearty singing can burn up to 200 calories!”

Liz trained as an opera singer, and performed internationally, under the stage name Elisabeth Meister, before moving into the realm of wellbeing. She combined her passions in music and wellbeing when she gave a TEDx talk at Warwick University in 2015, entitled The Beauty of the Human Voice. She came to our University campus in 2018 to work for AQA, where she developed her skills as a personal development coach and became a Mental Health First Aider, before joining the University staff in 2020.

In more ‘normal’ times, Liz Franklin-Kitchen runs the University’s Stag Hill Singers choir, but following lockdown, realising the many benefits that group singing provides, Liz enthusiastically set to work to enable the choir to rehearse and sing virtually.

Since lockdown, Liz has devotedly facilitated rehearsals via Zoom and on 1 May, the Stag Hill Singers embarked on their first Facebook Live rehearsal on the Students’ Union page.  

Speaking about the choir and why staff who are interested in joining should sign up, Liz said: “While online rehearsals don't fully replicate the connections made in a live setting, continuing to rehearse in this way gives us all a sense of increased wellbeing, almost in a deliberate and defiant act against the pandemic.  

Everyone is welcome and warmly encouraged to join in, either by just watching, or by singing along. No previous experience or music-reading ability is needed. To find out more information, get in touch via Facebook and to get a flavour.

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