International Choir Festival InCanto Mediterraneo

Why Are Punk Rock Choirs Coming to the Fore?

  • If you’ve already heard the HSS Choir belt out their a capella version of I Wanna Be Sedated by the Ramones or the Blue Ribbon Glee Club putting a whole new spin on Wreckless Eric’s (I’d Go the) Whole Wide World, then the idea of a punk or rock choir may almost seem like an oxymoron. In fact, nothing could be further than the truth. Punk rock choirs rely on the same vocal techniques, compose beautiful harmonies, and, indeed, perform at churches and other spiritual settings, delighting those who know that music truly is divine—regardless of the chosen genre. If you wish to know more about why this new style of choir is attracting more people to discover the beauty of choir music, read on and consider whether or not your favorite Dead Kennedys, Ramones, Sex Pistols or The Clash song could somehow lend itself to a new, creative rendition that emphasizes harmony, individuality, and freedom?

    Hear the Rebel Yell

    Many people enjoy an element of rebellion in the music, art, and fashion they consume. As pointed out in a paper published in the journal, Philosophy Compass (Prinz, 2014), punk intentionally violates widely held aesthetic norms and is associated with specific fashions, styles, and philosophies. Punk plays a role in self-construction because it refuses to take established norms as the ‘be all and end all’ and instead targets consumerism and conformism. Thus, bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Sex Pistols, and the Stooges wore garments like torn shirts, skinny jeans, and motorcycle jackets, keen to bridge the divide between glamour and nihilism. For those who love fashion and rebellion, few movements are quite as appealing as punk and taking part in a choir that enables them to share their love of all things “irreverent” is a big part of the fun. If you will be joining a punk choir, get your look right by wearing outfits like faux leather, buckled vests, tight pants or leggings, black crop sweaters and asymmetric black skirts with chunky Doc Martens-style boots.

    Come On, Feel the Noise

    It must be pretty tough to have a vinyl collection full of classics by everyone from The Dead Boys right through to The Slits and have to sing traditionally uplifting choir songs. Some music lovers really feel alive when singing tunes that tackle ideas like consumerism, celebrity, sexual norms, religion, and the like. So many punk songs additionally have a catchy melody that simply begs for a take that highlights their beauty. A few songs you might like to try your hand at include The Buzzcocks’ Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve), Descendents’ Good Good Things, or Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Love Comes in Spurts.

    Punk rock choirs are making a wave on the music scene—so much so that punk choirs are performing against a bevy of backdrops—including churches, poetry readings, and music festivals. It’s all about celebrating the beauty of creativity and harmony while rebelling against established norms. Punk choirs have the added bonus of a defined aesthetic that has been influencing designers since the movement first burst onto the scene.


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