We were all dressed up in red tops with black trousers or skirts. As I say every time we appear in concert, we looked almost like a "proper choir".
When I say "appear
in concert" I am not talking about the Royal Albert Hall here. No, today - for one day only, folks! - our Singing for Pleasure choir was appearing at the Heene Community Centre's Christmas Fayre.
will remember that there was a bit of controversy in our choir sessions about the actual programme for our half hour slot. Even yesterday it was subject to change as our conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, decided reluctantly that our rendition of "I Want to
be in America" didn't quite cut the mustard. She replaced it with "On the Street Where You Live" to be sung by the men on their own. Mr B muttered and complained that it was just too high a key for him. He wanted to be in America, you could tell.
We had wondered if we would have any kind of an audience but the community centre was packed when we arrived. Several members of our U3A branch turned up to provide moral support, as did our friend Arthur - down from
the Wilds of Worcestershire for the weekend - who clearly thought it was one way of repaying our hospitality of last night. My meat pie obviously went down well with him.
The Mayor of Worthing opened proceedings
with a neat little speech, praising the community centre for the range of activities on offer: "There really is no need for anyone to complain that there's nothing to do in our town," he commented. Quite right, too, Mr Mayor! He was also kind enough to say
our choir looked extremely well turned out (it was the red shirts that did it) and that he always felt there was something about singing that kept you in good spirits. Indeed there is. As well as the Mayor the local
MP was there, wearing a large badge bearing his name, presumably to make sure people knew he had put in an appearance.
Right next to the area where we were singing was the queue for Santa's Grotto. Two very
realistic elves were stationed at the door of the grotto, welcoming the kiddies. I could just about see the glittery interior of the grotto every time the silvery curtain was pulled to one side to allow each child to enter. So realistic were the elves that
at least one child was consumed with fright, bursting into loud tears just as we started on "My Favourite Things."
What with the chatter from Santa's Little Helpers and the hubbub at the back of the hall where
a number of craft stalls were selling their wares, we had to rise to the occasion and sing our hearts out. The applause at the end of our performance was warm and appreciative so I reckon we did just fine. Terry remembered to whistle at exactly the right moment
in "Get Me To The Church on Time", nobody forgot to be "la-di-dah and uppity" during "Consider Yourself" and the sopranos managed to restrain themselves from hitting a high note when singing "God bless you!" clearly remembering Muriel's dire threats as to
the consequences if they didn't sing the tune as written.
Muriel is very hot on delivering the tunes as written by the composers. She says if they went to all the trouble to compose such memorable music, the
least we can do is to sing it as it was intended. I agree with her completely; it's why I hate it when people singing the National Anthem end on a high note (like the soloist at this afternoon's rugby match from Twickenham.)
After our performance we repaired to the cafe where Mr B bought me a coffee and a home-made mince pie. One of our newer choir members, who had come to listen but not to sing this time, showed me the red blouse she had bought. Would it "do"? she wanted
to know. I reassured her that it was just right - I reckon she'll be up there with the rest of us when we next make an appearance. There is something contagious about performing in concert.
to perform was the Rock Choir - you have probably heard of them, they have groups all over the country. There were a lot of them and they sang to taped music. Plus they did part singing, which is a bone of contention in our choir because Muriel doesn't think
we are quite up to it. She is doubtless right (she usually is) but we still hanker after the challenge. The Rock Choir's conductor stood on a table to lead them through their programme; I have to say I was glad Muriel - who is 90 years young - kept her feet
firmly on the ground. They also did a lot of moving about which added energy to their performance - though I'm not sure if it would be a good idea for us to try that, not with Joan's dodgy knees and Bill's hip.
felt so Christmassy by the time we left that I insisted on buying an Advent Candle on the way out. All the way home in the car I was singing "Deck the Hall With Boughs of Holly." Mr B was not amused but sometimes, you know, you just can't stop singing.
"Fa la la la la, la la la la!"