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Singing in choir
strikes healthy note, study says
Orange County Register
March 31, 2001
IRVINE, Calif. - Singing in a choir may just make you healthier, according to a study by the University of California, Irvine.
Researchers at the school found increased levels of disease-fighting proteins in the mouths of choir members after they sang Beethoven's choral masterwork, the Missa Solemnis.
According to the study, a protein used by the immune system to fight disease called immunoglobulin A increased 150 percent during rehearsals and 240 percent during performance. The boost seemed directly related to the singers' states of mind, which many participants described as happy or euphoric.
"The more passionate you feel while singing, the greater the effect," said education Professor Robert Beck, who authored the study with Thomas Cesario, dean of the university's College of Medicine. The study was published this school year in the scientific journal Music Perception.
The difference in the increased levels between a performance and rehearsal, scientists theorized, may be because the singers had achieved mastery of the complicated piece after often-stressful rehearsals and were enjoying the thrill of the performance itself.
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