It was our last Choir Meeting of 2013 today – so, as last year, Mr B and I had prepared our own small gift for our fellow songbirds in music and verse.
Last week we were all asked to think about whether we wanted to “do a turn” of our own as part of a kind of End of Term celebration. Mr B has thought of little else since this time last year when we carolled
“Don’t we have a Luverly Time at Choir on Friday mornings.” We needed to write a new song, just as good as last year’s, he told me, as the weeks turned into months and the End of Term drew closer. It was what we like to call
in our family “the Royal we”.
This week I could not put it off any longer. The song had to be written, especially as Mr B said he required plenty of
what he called Practice Time. I felt like reminding him that Jack and Hazel, since they were toddlers, have had to wait right until the very last day – nay, the very last minutes, in some cases - of our Annual Summer Holiday before I produced the
words to the seasonal song. What with packing to go home and associated chaos, they invariably had to come up with a tuneful rendition on both tape and video with barely a single run-through before their Mum, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, started
filming for posterity. Young as they were, Team Baldwin were always True Professionals.
Mr B says he is not bothered about being a True Professional, he
just wants to be able to sing in tune and not make a complete fool of himself. I reassure him that, as author of the Yet-To-Be-Written song, there is a far greater chance of me appearing the fool. What is more, if the worst comes to the worst,
he can always lay all the blame at my door. He makes no comment on this – which leads me to believe that this possibility has not only already crossed his mind but has been filed away neatly in his head somewhere for future use,
if and when needed.
I wonder how the truly great song-writers practise their craft? I imagine them sitting at a grand piano, picking out a tune, having
frequent “light-bulb moments” prompting them to scribble their clever / poignant / amusing words into a large leather-bound volume with “My Songs” inscribed proudly in gold lettering on the front.
I don’t have a grand piano or a large, leather-bound volume (with or without the gold lettering on the front) in which to write my songs – but I do have the shower. Here is how I
go about my Song Writing Task. First of all I choose a tune which I think we can sing. For today’s choir performance I chose to adapt “Wonderful Copenhagen” on the basis that (i) I have heard Mr B sing this and he is Most Tuneful;
(ii) the verses have a merry swing to them; and (iii) the whole choir will be able to join in the choruses which I feel sure they will enjoy. Having chosen the song to be adapted, I then stand in the shower while carrying out my daily ablutions and yodel
away trying to find just the right words which will fit the music and, hopefully, raise some laughter. As you can imagine, when I am in full song writing mode, I am the Cleanest Person on the Planet.
Though I say it myself that shouldn’t (as my Mum would chide me) I am quietly proud of the fact that I do always manage to pull it off. Some of my songs are better than others, to be fair,
but provided they are sung with conviction (something Team Baldwin have always been good at) people usually think they are much cleverer than they are. Today’s performance went down very well, felt. I had included a few specific references which only
choir members would find funny - like the way our conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, makes us take a "drink of air" before wrapping our tongues around phrases like "babbling babies" and "gaggling geese". She took it all in good part, bless her heart.
Most of all I loved seeing everyone’s faces, smiling and laughing as they sang along with the chorus:
“So let’s sing for pleasure, wonderful,
wonderful choir on Fridays for me!”
And so say – sing! – all of us...