I have heard - and I reckon you have too - of choirs which raise the roof with the power of their singing. Much as I love our Singing For Pleasure choir, which meets every Friday morning at the Heene Community Centre,
I had never imagined we might be able to do likewise.
Yet, when we returned last Friday after our summer break, something was different. The low ceiling which
our Conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, often blamed for our failure to hit all the right notes, especially in the right order, had been removed, exposing a lofty roof, complete with beautiful beams. I'm not sure we actually can take any credit for raising
the roof but the roof has, most definitely, been raised. What difference will it make, we wonder? And, most importantly, what will Muriel have to say about it?
happened to meet one of the Heene Centre’s Board of Trustees at our Trustee Club event on Thursday and was quick to congratulate her on the transformation. “What does Muriel say about it?” she asked, a worried look upon her face. I didn't
realise that Muriel’s opinions were so highly valued / feared - outside we choir members, you understand - but it seems the Board of Trustees has been waiting, with bated breath, for Muriel’s reactions on the raising of the roof. Not for nothing
is Our Muriel Redoubtable.
For what it's worth, I happen to think our musical renditions sound so very much better now. When I say “our”, I am
talking collectively, you understand, rather than personally as I suspect it would take more than the removal of a ceiling to make me sound less like a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Muriel is surprisingly non-committal though she does comment that there is quite
an echo effect going on. This may, I consider, be helpful for some of the songs in our extensive (if somewhat aged) repertoire where echoes are mandatory, rather than optional.
We have had quite a long break, from the middle of July to the middle of September, so it's not surprising that we have forgotten some of the songs we have learnt more recently. We floundered our way through the Hungarian Folk Song, for example. “We
made a right goulash out of that!” muttered Terry behind me. Made me laugh…
Every time I leave home for choir on Friday, Mr B asks me to “sing
one for me”, adding, dourly: “Preferably a Scottish one…” You may deduce from this that Mr B has a particular affection for Scottish songs but you would be very, very wrong. His unfavourite song is “There’s nae look aboot
the hoose” but he’s not choosy. Mr B, of course, used to be a member of the men’s section of our choir, where he was renowned for his performance as Harry Hawke (or ‘Arry ‘Awke in his best Somerset) in “Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh”.
There's a bit of a row brewing in the choir about a proposal from the U3A Committee that all those of us who meet in a hall should pay £1 a session for the privilege.
Our convenor, Myra, points out that we would be better, financially, if we declared UDI and set up outside the auspices of the parent organisation. Feelings are running high. I do love a good argument. A vote is being taken - it's going to be like the EU Referendum
all over again with nobody knowing, exactly, whether it's better to have won or lost. I've lost my voting slip, it's lodged somewhere in my desk diary along with the 2017/18 recycling calendar, the Birthday List and the letter from the GP inviting me for a
shingles vaccination. If I fail to vote, someone tells me, censoriously, I will be assumed to have voted in favour. In favour of what, I am not quite sure, not having read the accompanying paper properly.
On the way out of the hall, I share with the two fellow choristers following me out how much I like our new raised ceiling. They say, sorrowfully, that it's not so good for the hard of hearing - the singing is fine, they concede,
but conversation is difficult owing to the echo effect. I am chastened to think I hadn't considered that.
Raising the roof may have suited me - but for my hard
of hearing friends I fear it has been, well, goulash…