ON THE Sunshine Coast, the air is filled with the happy sound of singing as our choirs return from the holiday break and start rehearsals for their performances this year.
The Coast is blessed with many fine community choirs - among them the Sunshine Coast Chorale Society and the Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir - both at Buderim, Noosa Chorale, Global Harmonies at Bli Bli, Hot Ginger Chorus and New World Rhythms, both at Maroochydore.
And let's not forget the many church choirs and those small groups who entertain at retirement villages, nursing homes and the like.
Choirs evolve over the years. Members come and go. Some have singers who have been there since the choir was founded. Others may have only joined last year.
Among them are lawyers, schoolteachers, professors, policemen, business owners, artists, tradesmen, accountants, homemakers and retirees from all sorts of occupations now living the dream on the Coast.
So what is the magic that makes these eager amateurs want to raise their voices in song? What is it that gets into their veins and becomes part of who they are?
Noosa Chorale recently asked its singers to answer two questions: "What makes you sing?" and "Why did you join Noosa Chorale?"
The answers, just published, from the survey were varied and surprising but the conclusion was very clear. Singing with others is an act of togetherness which, as soprano Jutta Rathgeber, said: "Releases emotions, makes you feel good, makes you laugh and sometimes even makes you cry."
Others saw it as having distinct physical benefits. Alto Jodie Thomas noted "it is a good workout for the lungs and brain" and soprano Dorothy Hertelendy said, "It makes me feel so good, even on the darkest day."
Tenor Ian Lowe said, "There is no buzz like that of being part of a wonderful collective expression of the human voice" and soprano Hettie van Wyk offered a slightly different take: "Singing is like breathing in tune. I like singing in the car, which I must admit gives me a few uncertain smiles at stop signs."
So there you are. Singing is good for you and if you are a kitchen contralto or a bathroom baritone there's a choir near you and waiting to hear from you.