Paul McCartney and Choirs

Paul McCartney is an extraordinary musican. As a member of the Beatles, the most famous rock band of all time, he established himself as both a performer and a songwriter. Guinness World Records described McCartney as the “most successful composer and recording artist of all time”, with 60 gold discs and sales of over 100 million albums and 100 million singles. He has gone on to further distinguish himself in his post-Beatles life as a musician, but also as a supporter of various causes, one of which is music education. I especially appreciate one of his quotes that has to do with singing in a choir. He said, “I love to hear a choir. I love the humanity, to see the faces of real people devoting themselves to a piece of music. I like the teamwork. It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.” Isn’t that a wonderful statement? And, for those of us who are involved in choral music, doesn’t it resound with truth?

My early musical career was rather evenly divided between conducting choral ensembles and performing as a tenor soloist. Although I enjoyed my years as a solo singer, I never derived the same level of satisfaction from that as from working with groups of singers (either as a member or as a conductor). There is just something remarkable about a group of people coming from many different backgrounds and life experiences and working together toward a common goal of creating something beautiful and meaningful. I think McCartney was right on target when he used the words “teamwork” and “cooperating.” I wake up every day with a grateful heart that I have been given the opportunity to live in a world of choral music, and to have the opportunity to work with so many people who share with me their love for something we call “choir.”

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  • Felton Dunn

    Choir is absolutely a uniquely rewarding “coming together” (oops, that was John Lennon’s song) that makes us all richer. Sir Paul is also a personal hero as a bass player; his innate musicality made for many moments over the years to craft parts for that instrument which expanded and “beautified” its contribution to all the styles he’s practiced. And he still doesn’t read music!

  • Ken Kurtz

    Reading a book now called Outliers: The Story of Success. Fascinating, including the “10,000 hour rule” that the author partially attributes to the tremendous success of McCartney and Lennon (that they practiced correctly for at least 10,000 hours at clubs in Hamburg). Far worse things than 10,000 hours spent practicing correctly with many other similarly seeking folks under the baton of Michael O’Neal!

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