Our Choir Conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, was definitely in a happy mood this morning.
Not that she is usually in a grumpy
mood, you understand, but she does get a little het up at times, mostly when we commit the Unforgivable Sin of talking too much. Muriel is convinced that not one of us is able to obey a simple instruction, such as turning to the correct page for our next song,
without engaging in Pointless Conversation.
In our defence, there are almost always poor souls who haven't heard the page announcement and have to ask their neighbours
on both sides for clarification. Once they have found the right page, they then need to know which of the three or four songs on each page we will be singing. With over forty singers (admittedly of varying ability, singing-wise) in a small, crowded hall, you
can imagine this causes a bit of a stir.
Occasionally, the Redoubtable Muriel will announce a song for which no number appears to be available. On these occasions
the cry will go up: "Music! Music!" announcing the fact that for the song in question we have words and music. Most of us file the music pages at the back of our smart, red files - I, for example, file mine in alphabetical order. Which sounds to be a fail-safe
method except that I can never remember if I have filed The Goslings under "T" or "G". This only really matters if Mr B is in attendance as he will be gesticulating across at me from the Men's section to express his extreme displeasure at not being able to
locate the music due to my Filing Deficiencies.
He didn't come with me today which was a pity because there is nothing like singing, in the words of one of our
songs, to Spread A Little Happiness. He would have gone home humming. Musically speaking.
Because we have a goodly few new choir members, Muriel felt it necessary
to introduce them to a number of what she calls our "mantras." It seems rather a grand title to give them but who am I to argue? One goes thus:
"A look of happy
surprise adds interest to our singing.
It lifts our cheekbones high and puts a sparkle in our eye."
Muriel suggested we sing this mantra while looking at our neighbours, presumably to check out their look of happy surprise, the sparkle in their eye (why only one eye? What's going on with the other one?) and how high they are lifting their cheekbones. Predictably
this produced many fits of the giggles which went to add to the general state of All Round Happiness.
Another of our "mantras" goes:
"Vowels are what we sing on BUT
Consonants, consonants, consonants, consonants
Consonants make the words clear!"
Sometimes we have to sing all the vowels in turn, other times we have to practice those pesky consonants by carolling "bumbling bees" or "toppling towers" or other tongue twisters dreamed up by our inventive conductor.
Ah, yes, she does like to compose her own verses to twist our tongues around. She travels to our meeting place from her home in Hove and uses the journey time to make up
verses such as:
"Blue skies, white clouds, blue sea, brown speckled pebbles."
We always sing along obediently. We know how to keep Our Muriel
happy. It may not rival John Keats for elegant poetry but then Keats didn't compose verse specifically to exercise people's vocal chords.
For certain, a happy mood pervaded our choir this morning.
We started off with "Happy Days Are Here Again" ( what could be happier?) and progressed through songs like "I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside" before finishing off with that Truly Rather Wonderful song by Flanders and Swan about the hippopotamus wallowing
in "mud, glorious mud." We did ratchet down the Happiness Levels at one point by singing the heart-rending "Lilli Marlene" but this was at the express request of Terry - and as he sets out all the chairs before we start it would not have been in our best interests
Besides which it kept him, well, happy...