Dear Series Patrons and Friends,
We are so excited to welcome you to this unique choral sound bath experience! Below you will find important information about the concert. This one-of-a-kind event will be unlike any choral concert you’ve previously attended, so please take a few moments to read.
- A list of what to bring with you – IMPORTANT!
- What to expect and how to prepare for the experience
- Things to keep in mind during the experience
- Things to consider doing afterward to continue with your experience
- A wonderful letter of explanation of the science behind sound healing from our singing member, Brooke Slemmer, MM, MT-BC, NMT
We hope you’ll love the event and we’re going to love presenting it for you.
What To Bring
- Face mask (welcomed, and required in some cases)
- Neck/travel pillow (recommended)
- Eye mask (recommended—some will be available from the ushers)
- Water bottle
- Your most open and authentic self (come as you are ♥)
- Quality headphones, if listening to the stream at home
What To Expect & How To Prepare
This first-of-its-kind choral sound bath collaboration invites each participant to relax as singers and sound healing artists guide you through a restorative, energetically cleansing sound journey. A variety of traditional sound healing rituals will be woven throughout the carefully curated choral repertoire for a seamless 90-minute sonic experience designed for both individual and communal healing. If you have any questions about any of this information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Chorus Representative Sandra Garner or MAC Arts Events Manager Molly Andres.
Before you arrive, we encourage you to consider the following:
- Refrain from alcohol and/or caffeine for 6-8 hours before the experience.
- Stay hydrated throughout the day with plenty of water and electrolytes.
- Take a moment to sit quietly for 2+ minutes and set an intention for your journey. This can happen through meditation and/or journaling.
- Plan to wear clothing to maximize your comfort (something you’d wear to relax or stretch; layers recommended.)
- The running time is 90 minutes with no intermission.
- Please know there is no late seating for this event. While the performance starts at 4:00 PM, please plan to come early and use the time to get comfortable in your reserved seat.
- Sound healers navigating the room may exercise light touch during the sound bath. Consider if you will comfortable with this, as you’ll have the option of receiving a wristband to wear during the performance to indicate your preference.
- Singers from the College Choir will be on stage on yoga mats.
Things to keep in mind during the experience
- As you listen, you may find your mind wandering. This is normal. When you notice this, gently guide yourself back to the sounds you are hearing.
- Some sounds may feel uncomfortable or unpleasant for you, and that is natural. Sound is not inherently good or bad. If you feel tension or anxiety, continue breathing and allow the sound to move through your body as it needs to. Often, discomfort means energy is moving away from a place where it no longer serves you.
- We will be using scents towards the beginning of the journey.
Things to consider doing afterward to continue with your experience
After the experience, we recommend a variety of activities and prompts to assist with integration. Choose one or more:
- Grounding foods, especially dark chocolate and/or blackberries, and soothing and hydrating beverages like herbal tea or lemon water: How might the sound journey have heightened your sense of taste?
- Journaling: What did your experience bring up for you? What did it feel like in your body? What did you see behind your eyelids? Where did you go?
- Light stretching and restorative yoga, ending in child’s pose.
- Mindful walking in your home or neighborhood, finding new discoveries along the way: What small details are you noticing that haven’t been appreciated before? Make a list if you want.
- Drawing: On a blank piece of paper, draw a large circle in the center. Then, design your experience with shapes, colors, images, etc.
- Breathing and toning: Inhale through the nose for 4 beats, and exhale on a hum. Repeat to your desire. On the final few exhales, open to “ah.”
A Letter from Brooke Slemmer, MM, MT-BC, NMT
I am so excited, along with the rest of my choral family, to soon be holding space for you in our truly unique program. I am Brooke, a singer in the chorus, and also a Board-Certified Neurologic Music Therapist. I am honored to offer some thoughts about this program from the perspective of someone who utilizes music to help people in a very functional way.
Before meeting our resident Certified Sound Healers, Molly and Derek, I knew very little about the practice. From the surface, Music Therapy and Sound Healing look incredibly different. As a Music Therapist, I use the most easily perceptible parts of music (rhythm, melody, lyrics) to get my clients to work hard to achieve tangible goals, like improved speech or motor skills. But in a sound bath, a Sound Healer harnesses the micro-scale parts of music, like frequency and timbre, to promote wellness.
Despite the differences, I learned (from geeking out about music cognition with Molly and Derek) that our practices are based on the same foundation. The premise is this: something special happens in our brains when we are participating in a music experience. We don’t know everything about this yet, but we do know that music organizes your brain for optimal functioning.
How might you experience this as part of our audience? We know from Music Therapy research that our bodies entrain to music. This means our breathing, heart rate, and even systolic blood pressure matches the tempo of what we’re hearing, and the change is even greater if we are actively involved in the music-making. We hope that by surrounding you with our sound, we can get as close to that effect as possible without forcing you to perform with us. (Don’t fret.)
Through more research, we found that our actual brainwaves entrain too! When this electrical information hits our brain stem (the rhythm-obsessed part of the brain connected to the spine), it sends it on to the vagus nerve. After receiving such organized and pleasant stimulation, the vagus nerve helps to regulate our organs—especially the heart, lungs, and gut. The good feeling you get from music is not just in your head—it’s in your whole body.
My favorite thing you will experience is the sound of Molly’s singing bowls. You will notice that a lot of the music chosen for this program features dissonant harmonies, which mirrors what Molly does with these instruments.
To understand what happens neurologically when we hear harmonic clusters, we have to know that frequencies are measured in hertz. For example, the note “A” vibrates at 440 hertz. Right above that, we have the note “B flat” at around 466 hertz. When we hear two pitches that are that close together, our brain thinks it can “hear” the subtracted difference hovering underneath. Now, the difference between A and B flat would create a note that is 26 hertz, which is outside the hearing range for most people. But we can feel it—as a very slow rhythm. If our brainwaves entrain to this rhythm, it can slow our bodies to a state of deep meditation.
There’s also research about how finding ourselves in this meditative state as a group can promote a feeling of unity and bonding. I can’t think of a better way for Choral Chameleon to return to live performance for the first time since 2019. We hope you will find that this is just what you need after two and a half long years apart. We know it is for us.
Much love and warmth,
Brooke Slemmer, MM, MT-BC, NMT