Musings from Executive Director Tiana Mortimer
Working with the Fort Bend Boys Choir means I tend to glom onto musical facts, the stranger the better! For instance, did you know that most toilets flush in E flat? Who exactly was the person that thought to bring a tuner into the bathroom to test that fact?! Is this something we truly need to know? Of course not, but if you are like me, these facts tend to hibernate in your head just waiting to be released into casual conversation.
My husband does not understand my penchant for trivia and sometimes, I do not either. After all, why would we need to know the fact that The Star Spangled Banner ranks as one of the most difficult national anthem in the world? Whoever determined that obviously has not heard our Tour Choir master it!
Does it help anyone to know decorated military leader General Norman Schwarzkopf and popular actors Brad Pitt and Denzel Washington were choirboys at one time? Perhaps our choirboys can identify with them, knowing that they, too, can aim for great things, using the qualities they have learned such as leadership, etiquette, self-confidence and so much more as a foundation for those aspirations.
I am sure you are thrilled to know that cats have over 100 vocal sounds but dogs only have about a dozen. Perhaps the term “caterwauling” stemmed from this fact! Did you know a duck’s quack has no echo? What about the fact that the Beatles and even famous, long-lived composer Irving Berlin (who died at 100 years of age and wrote over 1,000 songs), never learned how to read music? I find that amazing since our choirboys start learning to read music at age eight, with some even earlier than that!
Mixed in with some trivial music knowledge inside my brain are some facts that are rather relevant to our choirboys and youth today. For instance, did you know that almost 70% of all students accepted into medical school have taken music in some form or fashion during their school years? What about the fact that people who participate in music score higher on standardized tests than others who do not? Actively singing and playing musical instruments also increases brainpower! Have you heard that singing in a group, according to researchers, is soothing and raises moods, with the body releasing more “feel good” hormones like oxytocin and reducing stress hormones like cortisol? Music is good for the body and soul! All of these music “facts” simply demonstrate that what we do here at the Fort Bend Boys Choir is more than teaching boys to sing. We provide them a foundation to succeed in life and music just happens to be the tool we use.
You probably hear from a variety of sources that music is the universal language. Our choirboys learn a variety of languages through the music they learn and memorize. After all, you do not have to understand Italian to appreciate a good opera. It is the melody, rhythms and emotion that “speaks” to you. The same concept applies to our choirboys!
As you can see, mixed in with the important facts that music is good for you are some silly but fun trivia that I challenge you to try to work into conversation. If the ones listed above are not enough, I will leave you with the knowledge that a 2001 music study noted cows produce more milk when they listen to easy mooood music. (Sorry, I just could not resist!)