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August 28, 2014

Office Workers Who Sing Together Are Healthier


It’s Tuesday lunchtime at the Birmingham headquarters of Wragge Lawrence Graham, a law firm. But instead of heading out for errands or ignoring the lunch break altogether, solicitors and support staff gather – to sing. “The choir helps you get to know people at the company who you wouldn’t ordinarily meet,” explains Rob Bridgman, a young lawyer who conducts the three-year-old choir. “You meet people from other legal teams, the IT department, the business development department.”

Wragge’s London office has launched a choir of its own; the staff have opted for 8am rehearsals. “Music-making in the office gives people a chance to be themselves at work, and it doesn’t take time away from the family,” says Lorna Gavin, head of corporate responsibility.

London, long a choral capital, is setting the tone with law firms, banks, accountancy firms, tech firms, even cosmetics giant L’Oréal now featuring company-supported choirs. A number have set up Google-style music rooms, and some even offer music lessons during the workday.

“When we started 14 years ago, office music was an odd thing,” recalls Howard Charles, whose firm, City Music Services, helps corporations run choirs and provides conductors and instrumental teachers. “Today I hardly need to make a sell at all. It’s a huge shift. Companies are focusing a lot on staff engagement now, and music is relatively low-cost and brings a hugely diverse group of people together.” The Choir: Sing While You Work, a recent BBC television show in which conductor Gareth Malone helped offices launch choirs, has helped boost interest as well.

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Posted by acapnews at August 28, 2014 12:00 AM