I hear it all the time when I tell people about World Singing Day: “You don’t want me to sing. I’ll scare everybody away,” they say with a sheepish smile.
And I reply “You’re exactly the person we want singing with us on World Singing Day. If you can speak, you can sing.”
It’s time we embrace singing as a universal human activity – a joyful experience for everyone, regardless of talent, experience or ability.
Many people who say they can’t sing often had a friend, parent or teacher say something derogatory about their singing when they were young. And then out of embarrassment or shame, they simply stopped singing.
World Singing Day addresses those fears and concerns by providing a safe, inviting environment – a participatory experience for people of all singing abilities, where everyone is welcomed. It’s not about performing or competing but rather bringing people together for, as one participant said, “one of the most life-affirming experiences I have ever had.”
World Singing Day participants sing along to the recordings of popular songs played loud enough where individual voices aren’t necessarily heard, but where the group as a whole can be heard loud and clear.
“We humans are hard-wired to sing,” says singing guru Deke Sharon. “Throughout history, singing has been fundamental to the human experience, with people feeling a powerful connection to others through song.”
Think of our ancient ancestors sitting around the fire and singing together. Everyone sang. Not just a select few. And this ancestral activity of communal singing is becoming a singing revolution of sorts, with groups springing up all over the world, from Australia and the United Kingdom to Belgium, Israel and the USA.
So you think you can’t sing? Well I’m here to tell you, yes you can. And each year on the third Saturday in October, people of all singing abilities around the world will be joining others in their communities for the pure joy and camaraderie of singing together. Join us.
Each year, volunteers from around the world serve as catalysts for positive human interactions as they host public sing-alongs on World Singing Day. Each host finds a place, sets a time and makes a playlist of their favorite songs so people can gather and experience the joy that comes from singing together.
Last year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, host Shareen Yong Yong recruited a few of her students from the polytechnic school where she works to host a local sing-along. Shareen, who works full-time as an English language lecturer at the school, not only recruited some of her own students, but ended up recruiting over 20 students from different departments to be involved in organizing the event.
Shareen and her “KL WSD Crew Family” worked together and involved other local groups in organizing their public sing-along at a local shopping mall. The team worked for weeks and months leading up to the event, creating signs, building decorations and even preparing a flash mob dance for their six-hour sing-along. They had team members assigned to different tasks, from going live on Facebook to putting up signs in the area. Their event brought hundreds of people together to sing.
One woman, who showed up after the event had ended, was welcomed by Shareen’s crew as they sang three more songs together, including the 2018 WSD Song-of-the-Year. One student stepped up to help boost the woman’s spirits by buying her a World Singing Day t-shirt. She was moved to tears.
Congratulations to Shareen and the entire World Singing Day Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 2018 Crew (pictured below) for creating such a joyful and inclusive sing-along. Each member played an integral part in bringing people together from all walks of life to experience the feeling of togetherness through singing and supporting the mission of World Singing Day: “Sing together. Unite the world.” Keep up the good work over there in Malaysia!
Click here to see a photo gallery from the 2018 event.
Click here to see a fun video from the 2018 event.
Interested in hosting a World Singing Day event? Click here.
2018 LOT10 Kuala Lumpur WSD Crew Family (photo above)
Top row: Shafeeq, Ahmad, Leonard, Patterson, Md, Azhar (Mechanical Engineering) Third row: Nur (Electrical Engineering), Shareen Lee Yong Yong (English Language Lecturer) Second row: Nur (Civil Engineering), Abdul (Mechanical Engineering), Khairunnisa (Electrical Engineering), Nur (Business Management), Nur (International Business Studies), Nur (Electrical Engineering), Mahariee, Alif, Ilham, Hadi (Mechanical Engineering) Front row: Siti, Puteri (Electrical Engineering), Nur (Packaging Engineering), Imran, Mirza (Mechanical Engineering). Camera person: Aiman
On 20 October 2018, thousands of people sang together in cities all around the world. Our global montage videos are currently in production. Tune in to World Singing Day on Facebook and Instagram to see images with the hashtag #worldsingingday. Mark your calendars for October 19, 2019 for our next global sing-along!
Interested in hosting an event in your community next year? Email us at music (at sign) worldsingingday.org.
People in over 45 countries and 220 cities and on 6 continents participated in World Singing Day 2018. Big events include:
Over 1,000 people singing in Perth, Australia on Yagan Square and other venues around the city
Over 1,000 people singing in the center of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with two separate events led by Girl Guides and students and by a local choir in shopping malls
Hundreds of people are gathering in the streets and pubs to sing together in cities around Australia. Beer choirs are springing up across the United States. Thousands of people are coming together to sing songs in Canada and Israel. Mass karaoke is breaking out in the United Kingdom. Over 200,000 Belgians gather in cities each summer to belt out songs from ABBA to The Beatles. And every year on the third Saturday in October people around the globe are coming together to sing and celebrate their common humanity on World Singing Day.
There’s a musical movement happening but it has nothing to do with competition or performance. It’s a joyful celebration springing up around the world through the simple act of singing together as a community. It’s a singalong revolution.
Peter Sharp and The Liberators from Perth, Australia, leaders in creating public events of authentic human connection, have organized a number of public singalong events, from people singing a Bob Marley song on the way to work in dozens of countries to inviting unsuspecting shoppers to sing along to classic pop and rock songs in the streets of Perth.
Massaoke (for mass-karaoke) is a live band singalong clubbing sensation that’s sweeping the UK, from the Glastonbury Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival to London and Liverpool.
In Toronto, Choir!Choir!Choir! is a weekly drop-in singalong event that began in 2011. It is equal parts singing, comedy and community building. People get a lyric sheet at the door, are taught the vocal arrangements, and then sing in a video. Everyone has a ball and goes home feeling great. Here’s the group singing “Hallelujah” with Rufus Wainwright.
Koolulam is a social-musical initiative aimed at bringing together people from all corners of the diverse, multi-cultural Israeli society. The idea is to stop everything for a few hours and just sing – together. The project enables its participants to enjoy the feeling of togetherness through a deep communal experience – their sounds and voices coming together to create a social choir, full of hope and optimism. Here’s what 3,000 people with an hour of learning the song can create: “One Day”
Australia’s Pub Choir believes music belongs to everyone and that everyone can sing. They pack hundreds of strangers into a pub, teach a song in 3-part harmony in 90 minutes, and then film themselves perform it.
Beer Choir, from the US, is about making the world a little better by singing and drinking together. As their theme song says “The Beer Choir is the choir that sings while drinking beer. So bottoms up, cheers, let’s sing while drinking beer.”
And perhaps the biggest and longest running singalong event in the world is Belgium’s Vlaanderen Zingt (Flanders Sings) which, for over 20 years, has been gathering people in town squares in the Flemish part of Belgium during the summer and singing everything from ABBA to the Beatles. Over 200,000 people gather each year in dozens of cities to sing their hearts out.
There’s nothing quite like singing together to bond people quickly and to soothe the soul. Imagine the millions of people who already love to sing, gathering on the same day each year and encouraging their friends and neighbors to join them in singing together. What a global celebration that would be.
There’s a singalong revolution happening. And World Singing Day is leading the way.
Belgium. It may conjure up thoughts of beer, chocolate and waffles. Maybe the famous cyclist Eddy Merckx, the painter Rubens, the cartoon TinTin, the singer Jacques Brel. Audrey Hepburn was born there. (OK, if you live outside Europe, you may be thinking, “Where exactly is Belgium?” It’s between The Netherlands and France.)