I just published a book! After hours of interviews with founding members of Newton Family Singers, I've compiled their story into How to Start a Singing Group: An Oral History of Newton Family Singers.
What kind of information is in there? Well, here's an edited section on Friendship:
Monique: Stephanie is the best friend I've ever had. And only because of NFS.
Stephanie: That makes me cry. It's true. It's true.
Monique: [First time I met her was] at that [original NFS] meeting. ...
Stephanie: Becoming friends through something that's hard, I think is unusual. It doesn't usually happen that way. But in this case it was just too important and obviously I think it was the best thing. The best thing. Yeah.
Julie: How often do I get to see my friends? But here I get to see these people that have become my friends and I get to see them every week and I don't have to organize anything or make any meals.
Jack: Julie and I have had conversations over the years about, who is your friend? Like, how do you define friends? Because it’s hard to make friends when you’re an adult. But with Newton Family Singers, I would say, now we have all these friends because we go to this thing every week.
Julie: When do people become friends? It's certainly not just singing next to people. That helps in terms of just getting to know people over time. Time definitely makes a difference. It takes me a while to feel like I fit in. I think what really helps is seeing people willing to be vulnerable.
Jack: Singing in public is very vulnerable. Even if I don't know someone that well, if I see like, Melissa come out and do this two line solo and you can tell she's nervous and she does a great job, my heart opens to her, you know.
Stephanie: I think it's really powerful. Exactly what you're saying, [in regular life] people aren't always vulnerable and even if someone isn't your favorite person in the world, you see them do something that you know is hard for them, or you see them really succeed... We feel connected. We feel close.
Julie: When people are willing to go up for solos or to sing with somebody and you support them when you see them taking a risk, and they support you when you're taking a risk, that's friendship.