Healing notes: singing for well-being in an African bank
Van As, Alta
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In 2005, Dr Steve Booysen - then Group Chief Executive of the Absa Group - initiated an internal choir festival as a platform for social interaction and teambuilding of staff across all cultures, age groups and post levels in the bank. Towards the end of 2005, based on the widely held perception that the effects of the project had exceeded all expectations, it was decided to repeat the initiative, which has since become an annual event. To date, Absa has invested, and continues to invest, millions of rands in their choir project - confirmation that choir participation offers valuable benefits to the ordinary employee. This paper uses data from an investigation into the ‘extra-musical benefits of this project to reflect on the value of the 2005-2008 Absa choir project for building social capital and strengthening individuals’ sense of coherence (SOC) through singing together.