Letter: Silent voices that are not taught to sing

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The Independent Online
Sir: Yesterday I played the organ for the funeral of a young man. The church was full, and there were a great many young people. The parents chose two well-known hymns but, sadly, the only sound of singing came from the bereaved family and a few older people. It made me think, not for the first time, of the demise of community singing and its potent outpouring of emotion: bringing togetherness and sheer enjoyment.

It is well known that even in schools where singing is part of the everyday scene, pre-adolescent boys, having become aware of the macho image, stop singing. Girls follow at a later stage and they, too, become embarrassed and silent. This cannot be entirely the fault of schools, but more our present-day culture. Unfortunately, by now many teachers have been educated in the same culture and have little wish to pass on musical knowledge, considering it either too difficult or unnecessary. Even so, I put in a plea for steady persistence.

'Back to basics' should include singing in all of our schools, but unhappily I fear this is something that the present philistine Government will ignore.

How nice it would be to play for weddings and funerals knowing that everyone will actually sing.

Yours sincerely,

DOROTHY HAMPSON

Stannington,

South Yorkshire

(Photograph omitted)

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