From Australia to India, from Finland to Japan, from Canada to the UK, from California to the New York Island, thousands will join their voices in joyful song on October, 21, 2023, World Singing Day.
This global sing-along is held annually on the third Saturday in October. People will gather in schools, parks, pubs, plazas, homes to sing and celebrate the unifying force of group singing.
The event was founded in 2012 by Colorado musician Scott Johnson. World Singing Day brings people together of all ages and backgrounds. It’s not political or religious. – just fun. No rehearsals or singing ability are required.
For 2023, the chosen song is “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers, selected to go with this year’s World Singing Day global theme of mental health.
Singing has many physical and emotional benefits. Studies have found that singing improves health and mood, lessens anxiety, stimulates memory, and increases lung capacity. Membership in a group or chorus promotes social bonding and fosters team work skills. It can even offer some help to cancer patients. A group in the UK documented the benefits of singing for cancer patients. It reduces stress hormones and increases proteins that boost the body’s ability to fight illness.
Want to sing?
To join an organized group in your area on this day, check out the locations listed on the official website for World Singing Day and find a group near you. Or you can start an informal group sing on your own with friends and family – just make sure to include “Lean on Me.” (If you want to be an official host for 2024, check the website in April for details on registering.)
Want to Sing Now?
You don’t have to wait till October 21 to sing.
Senior Planet participants and singer/songwriter Maggie Rothwell gather two Wednesdays a month online to discuss the art (and practice) of songwriting. Participants get inspired, share tips, perform original compositions, receive constructive feedback, and listen to songs written by other participants. The monthly sessions are open to everyone to perform and to listen.
Love music? Check out all the Senior Planet’s musical events you can join at our new All Things Music page. Drum circles, songwriting, performances and dance parties are all waiting for you!
“People from all across the country share their time and talent while cheering each other on and making meaningful connections,” Rothwell says. “Bonds are created and friendships are formed at songwriting nights…Exploring universal themes through music brings us closer together.”
“When we sing, the vibrations tune all of the health systems in the body,” adds Eve Zanni, director of the Bliss Singers, an all ages choral group that meets weekly in the community room at Westbeth Artists Housing in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
Zanni, a jazz vocalist, songwriter, and educator says “Singing helps with lung strength, circulation, balance, confidence. Learning songs helps with acuity and cognition. When we sing together, we build and strengthen community, chase away loneliness and depression. And it’s fun! “
Here’s a look at World Singing Day in action.
Kate Walter is the author of two memoirs: Behind the Mask: Living Alone in the Epicenter; and Looking for a Kiss: A Chronicle of Downtown Heartbreak and Healing. Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, New York Daily News, AM-NY, Next Avenue, The Advocate, The Village Sun and other outlets. She taught writing at CUNY and NYU for three decades and now works as a writing coach.
Photo: (Top) the Bliss Singers rehearse in New York City’s Greenwich Village.