Our choir conductor, the Redoubtable Muriel, is concerned that the number of men, and also of we altos (aka Failed Sopranos) is dropping off remarkably. Indeed there were only two men - Terry and Jay - in the Men’s
Section this morning though, as I might have pointed out, this was 100% up on our final session of 2017 when Terry was All On His Lonesome. When Mr B and I joined the choir, back in 2012, there were ten men altogether. I used to call them “Teacher’s
Pets” because it was very clear that the Redoubtable Muriel had a soft spot for them.
Yes, today was our first choir session of 2018 and it was so good to
be back, handing over my 50p to Myra on the desk before joining my friends Sue One and Sue Two in the second row back of the Alto Section. Everyone was talking about Christmas and the New Year, being roughly divided 50-50 between those who had had a flu-ridden
festive season and those who had not. Muriel said it had seemed like a really long break and she had missed her weekly drive from her home in Hove to the Heene Community Centre where we meet. On my way in, I met Kevin, who runs the community centre café
and he admitted he had probably missed us more than anyone else. I rather think it wasn’t only our dulcet voices he missed.
Another member of our choir,
my dear friend Bill, died just before Christmas, bringing to three the number of fellow singers we have lost in the last couple of months of 2017. We were all feeling a little maudlin at the thought - so Muriel called us to order, dictating that instead of
wallowing in misery, we should wallow in - mud, mud glorious mud. Ah, yes, that Flanders and Swann classic with its clever rhymes and splendid story of the courtship between two hippopotami. We gave it our very best shot.
Next we were off to Mexico, telling the story of the fella who rode South of the Border / Down Mexico way, wooed a young maid and then broke her heart by not meeting her as promised the following day.
When he returned some time later, he found his sweetheart had taken the veil. Sue One and I conferred in whispers, agreeing that it would have been far more satisfactory had he returned to find his girl happily married to a handsome fella, dandling a couple
of babies on her knee. We stayed in Mexico for the Mexican Hat Dance which we can never manage to sing completely correctly, it having three distinctly different tunes within the one song. Muriel said we might sing it better if we stood up so we did, but we
didn’t - if you follow.
For some reason, our conductor had decided to challenge us so the next song on the programme was The Blue Danube. Well, I hear
you say, everybody knows The Blue Danube, now don’t they? Indeed they do - but just as you get into the swing of it, the music goes up the scale so that the likes of me have the choice of either screeching tunelessly as I try to reach the high notes
or keeping quiet. And keeping quiet isn’t exactly like me, is it? I have scrawled “sops” on my music to remind me that for a few bars it’s “Sopranos only.” I know my limitations.
I do miss stopping on after choir for a mug of coffee and a bacon bap in Kevin’s café - I wonder how the Bacon Bap Brigade is faring without its founder members? - but I can’t be away too long from Mr B.
When I get home he will want to know exactly what we sang. “Sing one for me!” he always says as I leave for choir every Friday morning.
back to the car, I sing Brighton Camp at the top of my voice, only stopping momentarily when I meet the postman on his rounds. I love Brighton Camp; unlike South of the Border, it’s a tale of constancy, the song of the soldier who swears his loyalty
to the girl he left behind him.
I wonder how that hippopotamus rated on the constancy front?