Voices Now (a UK-based charity committed to enabling people of different backgrounds to listen to and sing in choirs) found that previous research into UK choirs had not been sufficient and that the existing estimates of choir memberships were too low – they believed that there were in fact millions of people singing in choirs every week in the UK, however were not being represented.
Research has shown that choir singing has measurable benefits for physical, mental and community wellbeing – choirs are making a large contribution to national wellbeing and, at the same time, cutting costs in the health sector.
In the summer of 2017, The SHM Foundation supported Voices Now to launch the Big Choral Census, a national survey into choir singing, to find out how many choirs there were in the UK.
The survey found a staggering 40,000 choirs in the UK, representing over 2.14 million people participating in choirs every week.
Since the publication of the Big Choral Census, this data has captured the imaginations of the choral world and, as a result, been quoted in a range of national press articles relating to other choir initiatives. The research has also gained attention from MPs and academics, as well as both the BBC and the Oxford University Press who have published infographics representing the data in the research.
The SHM Foundation is continuing to support Voices Now in 2018 with flagship events, regional gatherings, choir based research and advocacy.
Main photo by Katura Jensen