Conscious party: Run Sing Thing

RUN FOR IT: Youths with serious illnesses, along with their family members, can participate in art classes offered by Arts for Life. The nonprofit will receive proceeds from Run Sing Thing, a musical 5k organized by Jenny Greer Fares, pictured.
RUN FOR IT: Youths with serious illnesses, along with their family members, can participate in art classes offered by Arts for Life. The nonprofit will receive proceeds from Run Sing Thing, a musical 5k organized by Jenny Greer Fares, pictured. Photo by Luxe House Photographic

WHAT: A singalong 5K benefiting Arts for Life

WHERE: Carrier Park

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 6, from 2-5 p.m.

WHY: As the former frontwoman of Jen and the Juice and founder of Asheville Music Professionals, Music Video Asheville, the Brown Bag Songwriting Competition and design company Sound Mind Creative, Jenny Greer Fares is a seed sower in the local arts sphere. And around 2014, she tasked herself with growing something new.

“I was trying to be more creative with how groups make music,” she says. “I wanted to come up with a concept that took music off the stage and put it back in the audience.”

Setting aside her initial idea for a pop-up ensemble called Great Balls of Choir, Fares decided to organize a 5K run wherein participants would sing in unison throughout the route. She attracted about 20 participants but didn’t pursue a repeat event until this year, when Arts for Life executive director Rachel Zink approached her about holding it as a fundraiser.

“It’s all kind of an experiment,” Fares says of Run Sing Thing’s format. Upon arrival, attendees will split into groups of 10-20 people to spur socializing, but everyone will reconvene for the run. Fares will lead call-and-response singing of well-known pop and folk numbers — most with a running tie-in — and ideally, joggers’ synchronized feet will set the tempo. Afterward, everyone will gather for a stationary “Kumbaya” session.

“It’s just not that hard,” she says of singing and jogging at a shared pace. “As soon as people do it, it feels like a natural thing.”

“Probably the only goal I have is to give people a sense of community and to unite people,” Fares adds. She points out that various research has supported the idea that group singing prompts benefits like the release of oxytocin and converging heart rates. “Even if we struggle through it, that actually plays into part of bonding.”

Registration costs $25 per person (advanced or day of run) and includes a T-shirt designed by Sound Mind Creative. For more information, visit runsingthing.com.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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