Today is our Choir-And-Canasta Day.
Not both at the same time, don’t be silly – can you imagine me singing “I
am melding, I am melding...” to the tune of “We are sailing”? Melding is what you do in Canasta, in case you didn’t know. At the moment I am a bit of a novice so I am always melding too early, or too late according to Avril who is my
Canasta Teacher. At least I am learning. Learning is supposed to be at the heart of what the U3A (The University of the Third Age) is all about. Mr B doesn’t quite get this; he was adamant when we set up our Nomination Whist group that it should
be only for people who actually knew how to play. The idea that we might have to actually teach someone the rudimentaries of the game filled him with silent horror.
morning at Choir, our Conductor, The Redoubtable Muriel, was pained by our apparent inability to listen carefully as she tried to correct our timing in “Another Openin’, Another Show.” As she pointed out (quite fairly) if Cole Porter had
meant us to slur the words “Another openin’ of another show” into each other, then that’s how he would have written the music. Muriel is a stickler for getting things right. She made us sing “of (pause) an” over and
over again – and still when we put it to music we forgot the pause in our reckless enthusiasm to get through the chorus.
Muriel says she can’t
understand why, when she asks us to turn to another page in the red files which contain all our sheets of words and music, we appear to take this as a signal to start chatting to each other. She says that if we could somehow calculate how much time we spend
chatting and how much time we spend singing, over the course of our 90 minute session, it would be at least 2:1 to the chat.
Mind you, she lets the men’s
section get away with murder. They are very definitely Teacher’s Pets. Last week, we were singing that song about the jolly young sailor who falls overboard and ends up getting married to a mermaid. It has a rousing chorus that starts off with the familiar
tune of Rule Britannia but ends “Britons never, never never shall be marr-i-ed to a mer-mai-ed, at the bottom of the deep, blue sea.” Well, I sit right near the men’s section and I can tell you that there were a lot of mermaid jokes going
on. The word “mammaries”, in particular, was being bandied about, provoking grins and guffaws. Did the Redoubtable Muriel silence them with a steely gaze? Not at all, she gave them one of those forgiving “boys will be boys” looks, like
a sweet-natured School Matron dealing with some mischievous school-boys. I told you - teacher’s pets....
After failing to get to grips with “Another
openin’”, we turned our attention to “Let’s Do It!” another Cole Porter classic. Since Victoria Wood sang her own version on TV, years ago, I’ve forgotten the wittiness of the original which is rather a shame:
“Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it....” and (one of my favourite lines):
“Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it...”
We sing it with considerable gusto, it seems to me, and The Redoubtable Muriel
beams at us, proudly, like a Mother Hen who has managed at last to round up her errant chicks. As a reward, she lets us finish the session with “Vive L’Amour” which is a version of “The Animals Went In Two by Two” but
with a rousing chorus. I am excited because the Alto Section (of which I am a member) has its own part to sing in the chorus. Muriel is a little dismissive of the Alto Section which is short on numbers and low on musical ability. If the Men’s Section
are Teacher’s Pets, then we Altos are the ones permanently sent to sit on The Naughty Step. Our part in the chorus doesn’t have any words, we just sing “La, la, la” but we do it passably well, I reckon.
In the coffee shop after the choir session had finished, we were joined by Avril who will be striving to teach us Canasta round her house this evening. She said she had been listening to our
choir singing while she was playing short mat bowls in the larger hall and thought we sounded rather more discordant than usual.
Oh, dear, please don’t