• More
  • About Us

John Rutter: The Importance of Choir

Listen as composer John Rutter delves deeply into the importance of choir in all aspects of life.  He shares his own love of music with us as he discusses the many places music enters our lives and changes who we are.  Please enjoy these few words of wisdom from one of music’s greatest minds.

For great pieces by composer John Rutter, click here.

John Rutter: The Importance of Choir

Written Transcript

**Anyone using either video or transcripts of the interview must credit it as John Rutter’s words, taken from the video.

Choral music is not one of life’s frills. It’s something that goes to the very heart of our humanity, our sense of community, and our souls. You express, when you sing, your soul in song. And when you get together with a group of other singers, it becomes more than the sum of the parts. All of those people are pouring out their hearts and souls in perfect harmony, which is kind of an emblem for what we need in this world, when so much of the world is at odds with itself…that just to express, in symbolic terms, what it’s like when human beings are in harmony. That’s a lesson for our times and for all time. I profoundly believe that.

And musical excellence is, of course, at the heart of it. But, even if a choir is not the greatest in the world, the fact that they are meeting together has a social value. It has a communal value. And I always say that a church or a school without a choir is like a body without a soul. We have to have a soul in our lives. And everybody tells me, who has sung in a choir, that they feel better for doing it. That whatever the cares of the day, if they maybe meet after a long day’s school or work, that somehow you leave your troubles at the door. And when you’re sitting there, making music for a couple hours at the end of the day, that’s the only thing that matters at that moment. And you walk away refreshed. You walk away renewed. And that’s a value that goes just beyond the music itself.

Of course, as a musician, I put the music at the heart of it, but all of these other values just stand out as a beacon. I think our politicians need to take note…my gosh do they ever! [laughs], and our educators, those who decide education budgets, church budgets, just need to remember it’s not a frill. It’s like a great oak that rises up from the center of the human race and spreads its branches everywhere. That’s what music does for us. And choral music must stand as one of the supreme examples of it.



Brendan Lyons
Brendan started at Pepper in 2012 and currently works in the Marketing department as a copywriter. A graduate of Villanova University, Brendan has been a musician for over twenty years. He is also an author, using his talents at Pepper to bring the knowledge of our experienced staff to our customers.


  1. Rutter is one of the world’s greatest composers of choral music…and many other musical forms as well. But what he is saying about singing in a choir brings a much greater message to everyone that would listen with better ears, look with better eyes…and enrich their lives with better hearts. As a choral director myself I consider him to champion the gist of what music can do to heal a broken world.

  2. Thank you John for articulating for me as a choral director all of the benefits and joys that choral singing can bring. I have long believed it but my views were always disjointed when attempting to extol the virtues of music making – singing and choral music in particular. Thank you for your clarity.

  3. Why nations are competing by means of war instead of by means of choirs? There will be no casualty, only beautiful harmony in song and music – God will be glorified, love will be put on pedestal. The result will be eternal peace… WHY…

  4. I think our politicians should be forming choirs. Singing together. Then when different countries need to discuss things, they could all sing together. Way better exercise than killing each other.

  5. The Muppets, their creative staff, and their creator/boss, Jim Henson, were/are ALL Choir Singers….as attested to by Henson, before he died.

    And Frank Lloyd Wright had a regular rehearsal session daily with his architectural staffers and family members.

    And then, there were, and are, the Von Trapps! Including a new generation in Portland, OR!

    Congress in Choir……hmmmmm……big men’s contingent, a bit slim on trebles, but………it’d be worth a try! Put the Rehearsal Wing on the White House!!!!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Featured Posts

Share this post


An Interview with Composer Sarah Quartel

Choral composer Sarah Quartel grew up in a household filled with music. Whether it was her mother singing Italian arias in the...

How Editors’ Choice Helps Music Teachers and Directors

Every spring, piles of new sheet music are stacked in nooks and crannies around J.W. Pepper’s corporate office. The works come from...

Pepper and Penn Commemorate the Life of James Welsh Pepper

It was over 140 years ago that James Welsh Pepper first started the company that still carries his name. Setting up shop...

Back to School: Setting Up and Decorating Your Music Room

Music teacher David Fernandes says he faced unexpected challenges when he had to set up his music room during his first year...

The Inside Voice: An Interview with Larry Clark

Larry Clark is an ASCAP award-winning composer with over 300 publications in print. For over 20 years, he has been a much...
%d bloggers like this: