We were all loved-up at our Singing for Pleasure choir this morning, presumably in anticipation of Valentine's Day on Sunday.
Our conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, had
been through our whole repertoire of songs in order to arrive at a Play List of love songs, ranging from 16th century Greensleeves to 20th century Liverpool Lou. She had, she informed us, plenty of choice as there are at least forty songs on various aspects
of love in our red files.
Muriel's appearance was somewhat alarming as she was sporting a quite magnificent black eye. To save having to explain it to each of us in turn, she made an announcement at the very
start of our morning session. Apparently she had had a run-in with the back passenger door of her new hatchback car which had opened unexpectedly, giving her a bash on the head. The car, it seems, came off better than Our Muriel in this unlucky encounter.
Whether it was the bump on the head or the fact that love wasn't in the air for Muriel, it has to be said that she was a trifle tetchy this morning. Not that we didn't deserve to be castigated for our vocal failings.
We tried, oh, yes indeed, we tried. Muriel would doubtless say that we were very trying.
We were singing "Let's Do It" which has to be sung at a gallop while still adhering to the syncopated rhythm required
by the composer. I like "Let's Do It" because of the clever words, my favourite line being: "Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it". Think about it.
"Should there be a crotchet rest in there?" asked Christine.
"Good heavens!" whispered someone in the row behind me, "We're in the Big Time now!" Christine is auditioning for Gareth Malone's latest project - bringing together a choir of ex-military personnel to sing at the next Invictus Games in Florida. I expect she
has been swotting up on her breves, semi-breves, quavers and crotchets (with or without rests.) I have every finger and every toe crossed for her.
Muriel felt that, Valentine's Day or not, our hearts weren't
in our singing today. Perhaps it was because we were trying too hard to wrap our lips around the complicated lines but our voices were going through the floor-boards. We all stared at the floor, either because we had been shamed into contrition or because
we wanted to locate our voices. The men, in particular, needed special attention, Muriel said. "So what's new?" more than one person muttered audibly. Love was most definitely not all around.
My friend and
Singing Companion, Sue, was back from her holiday in New Zealand. It seems ages since we saw each other so we had lots of news to exchange - but talking between songs is frowned upon by our conductor. We resorted to fits of the giggles every time something
untoward occurred to us, hiding our faces behind our red music files so as not to incur Muriel's wrath.
We couldn't help noticing, however, something distinctly odd about our Play List. We started off in fine
form with Love's Young Dream, listening to the nightingale singing in Berkeley Square. Muriel exhorted us to sound more breathlessly romantic: "Was that a dream? Or was it true?" We did our best, even though it is quite a long time since any of us watched
the dawn come up having danced the night away with someone we had just met. And even then, not in Berkeley Square. I remember being most disappointed when I paid a visit to the famous square. Nondescript comes to mind - and not a nightingale in sight. Or even
Having despatched the lovers home from Berkeley Square we followed up with "Some Enchanted Evening" ("once you have found her, never let her go") and "I hear music when there's no one there". After
which we sang that it was "Almost like being in love". Each and every song about the first stirrings of love, don't you know?
Sadly it then went seriously downhill when we found ourselves singing about flighty
Liverpool Lou ("Why won't you behave like the other girls do?") and the faithless fella frequenting the Tavern in the Town, dallying with a "dark damsel" and taking her on his knee, to the distress of his erstwhile love. You may think "Tavern in the Town"
is a jolly sort of a song but, if you read the words, it is most definitely not so.
That's where we ended it - on a sad note of despair and infidelity. Couldn't we just have had a rousing chorus to
finish our Ode to Love. Even "My love's an arbutus" - incomprehensible though it may be - would have been preferable.
Do you reckon the Redoubtable Muriel was trying to tell us something about Life and Love?
Or was it just the bump on her head?