Barbershoppers can sometimes take for granted the easy joy of singing together. We get to do it every week. When we gather at conventions, we no longer marvel at a lobby full of people making music just for grins.
But as this chestnut from The Atlantic points out,
Adults in America don't sing communally. Children routinely sing together in their schools and activities, and even infants have sing-alongs galore to attend. But past the age of majority, at grown-up commemorations, celebrations, and gatherings, this most essential human yawp of feeling—of marking, with a grace note, that we are together in this place at this time—usually goes missing.
The reasons why are legion. We are insecure about our voices. We don't know the words. We resent being forced into an activity together. We feel uncool. And since we're out of practice as a society, the person who dares to begin a song risks having no one join her.
This is a loss. It's as if we've willingly cut off one of our senses: the pleasure center for full lungs and body resonance and shared emotion and connection to our fellow man.