We weren't sure exactly how many chairs we needed to put out in the community centre hall. No more than about 20? someone hazarded a guess. Ever the Eternal Optimist, I suggested at least 24...
Usually around 45 chairs are needed to accommodate every member of our Singing for Pleasure choir. You are probably wondering just how hard this can be, so you need to know that there are three different types of chair and quite a
lot of our choir have exceedingly strong views on which chair will be best suited to them.
First of all there are what are referred to as "the thrones" - large, padded arm chairs in an attractive green faux
leather with gold-coloured trimmings. The fellas always lay first claim to these on the somewhat spurious pretext that they do most of the hard work setting up the hall for our weekly session. All I can say is that some of them do - but some of them don't.
Not that I am keeping a register or anything. Actually, Mr B always endeavours to secure a throne for me, but I rather wish he wouldn't as I don't like to appear as if I am lording it over the rest of the alto section. I was brought up, you see, on firm egalitarian
Then there are the brown chairs, some of which have padded cushions. These are nowhere near as comfy as the thrones but have the advantage of being neater so more can be fitted into a small space.
Finally there are the plain, blue plastic variety, possibly the most uncomfortable chairs I have had the misfortune to sit upon. It is possible to secretly carry off one of the cushions from the brown chairs to ease the discomfort of the blue seats but this
runs the risk of bringing down wrath upon one's head from the person who gratefully grabs a brown seat only to discover it has lost its cushion. Still if you sit tight on your purloined padding, you may escape discovery and the shame of exposure.
It would be easier if everyone could have the same type of chair - but there aren't enough thrones to go round, nor are there enough brown chairs with padded cushions. Anyone, it stands to reason, is most welcome to
take a seat on a blue, plastic seat but that isn't a popular option.
As I said earlier (I hope you are impressed that I haven't entirely lost the plot of today's Blog) we didn't need to put out so many chairs
for this week's session. This was because our conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, had taken an executive decision that only those choir members who would be singing in next week's concert should attend on Friday morning. The entire session, she promised us,
would be given over to rehearsing our programme, which begins with that proud Welsh anthem "Loudly Proclaim" and finishes with a tuneful medley from the ever-popular musical, Oliver.
When I heard that there
might be only twenty of us, I was somewhat concerned as to how loudly we would be able to proclaim our love of liberty. Just as worrying was the tally of we altos, especially as we have finally been entrusted with our own alto part in "Go Down Moses." If it
turns out that there are only three of us, one of them being me, I can't see Pharaoh quivering in his sandals at the challenge to "Let my people go!"
But, Hallelujah! There were at least thirty of us ready,
willing and able to stand up and be counted. The Redoubtable Muriel gazed on us with real pleasure in her eyes as she took us through our paces. Every so often she would shut her eyes and I would wonder if she had dropped off to sleep for a moment (perhaps
lulled by our soulful rendition of As Long As He Needs Me) - but it turned out that she was checking on our diction. The Redoubtable Muriel is a Stickler for Diction.
Not everybody agrees with Muriel's choice
of programme which includes a number of rather less well known songs. How many of the audience in the Rustington Methodist Church Hall on Wednesday afternoon will have heard of "Twankydillo" for example? Meanwhile Mr B says getting his tongue around the words
of "Siyahamba", an African Zulu song, will be even harder than attempting his least favourite Scottish song "There's nay luck aboot the hoose." Myself, I am more than happy to leave the programme to our Estimable Conductor in whom I have Complete Faith.
Besides, we are singing one of my new favourite songs, a Spanish folk song. I love it because it reminds me that in just over a fortnight's time I will be flying off to Spain to spend a week with the Rampaging Rascal
and the Twinkles.
"Tho no gold is in our pockets, yet our hearts from care are free.
If we are not lords of acres, we are kings where'er we be.
And our palace, we can build it, by the moorland on the hill.
And we gaily hold our revels in the sunshine at our will."
I can just see myself,
prancing round the roof terrace of our holiday villa, singing my little heart out while the Tornado and the Twinkles watch me with bemused looks on their darling faces:
"So dance faster, faster, faster,
So dance faster, comrades gay.
In the sunlight, in the moonlight
We will dance the hours away!"