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Emmanuel Bach, Paul McCartney and My Pop Choir

You’re always in good company when you are singing with My Pop Choir, but you might not have realized that you are a part of a greater chorus of voices as well. Throughout the centuries, many renowned musical artists have had choir backgrounds.

From Emmanuel Bach to Paul McCartney and from Josef Haydn to Axl Rose, they sang in choirs in their communities, whether in church or in school. And likely learning to sing in a group and being surrounded by other voices, as we are in My Pop Choir, enriched in the music they would come to create.

Bach had a lovely soprano voice as a boy in his school choir and, as a teenager, he earned a scholarship to sing and train with a choir in the north of Germany. At the age of eight, Josef Haydn was invited to be a chorister at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, where he flourished – until his voice changed and he was asked to leave. Luckily anyone can sing in My Pop Choir, even if you feel that your voice range seems to be different every week!

No less a skilled musician than Antonio Salieri recognized the potential in Franz Schubert’s voice and was instrumental (pun intended) in having him awarded a choir scholarship to a famed Austrian academy. Here he was introduced to the music of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven and he went on from singing to composing.

In the nineteenth century, Giuseppe Verdi began singing in his local church choir at the age of seven and became the paid organist at eight. Many My Pop Choir members report that they feel that their musical skills are continually improving, but perhaps not quite to that extent!

While not formally a choir singer, Irving Berlin joined voices with other youngsters to entertain in saloons in New York City’s Bowery district to help support his family. Similarly, Louis Armstrong was part of a quartet, earning money in the streets of New Orleans.

Hearing a young Ella Fitzgerald perform in her church choir likely gave her listeners an idea of what was to come when she was an adult. And imagine the stories you could tell, if you first heard Aretha Franklin sing in Detroit where her father was pastor.

You might not think of Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond as a musical duo, but they sang together in their school choir. New friendships are a hallmark of My Pop Choir and some have resulted in international travel together, entire families getting to know each other and online conversations during the pandemic (that are credited with maintaining sanity!).

Choirs have provided the beginnings for many musical success stories. John Lennon was a choirboy (not quite his adult persona) in Liverpool. Paul McCartney, on the other hand, failed the audition for his church choir not once, but twice, before he was accepted.

As for Canadian talent, Joni Mitchell got her start in her school choir in Saskatoon and Avril Lavigne began developing her voice in a Napanee choir.

Katy Perry, John Legend, Axl Rose and Whitney Houston – all singers and composers, among many others, whose choir experiences just might have helped lift them to the heights they have achieved.

As you learn new musical skills, feel the warmth of community and immerse yourself in the joy of music, My Pop Choir will lead you to your own version of stardom!

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