There was a bit of a rumpus at choir yesterday.
It was the first choir session of the NewYear for Brian and me because, as regular readers will recall, last week our car
broke down on the way. There was no Viva, Viva La Musica for us last Friday.
However that was all in the past and, arriving at the Community Centre half an hour before start time, we had the pleasant surprise
of a refund for our missed meal. This didn't make up for our lost lunch completely (everyone said the food was the best yet) though it certainly helped. Judith reported that, though the food was excellent, the restaurant was a trifle chilly. "You should have
put a jumper on," lectured Myra, who always has an answer for everything. Even when she quite obviously doesn't, if you know what I mean.
A little earlier, while we were all waiting in the cafe for the Ballet
School to vacate the hall where they dance and we sing, Myra had complained bitterly about "the idiot" who had parked too close to her. "Well, that was me, actually!" said Bold Beatrice. I'm not sure I would have been so honest. Myra was completely unabashed.
If the cap fits....you could almost hear her thinking. Fortunately there was no opportunity for a potential argument to escalate because at that precise moment a dozen little lasses in royal blue leotards burst through the door, a colourful signal that we
could now gain entry to the hall and start setting the chairs out.
The rumpus started a little later just as we had all taken our places. I sit in the second row of the altos, next to my friend Sue where we
frequently set each other off with the giggles at the antics of our fellow choristers. Our conductor, The Redoubtable Muriel, had climbed onto her wooden podium and was standing legs apart and arms akimbo, waiting for us all to stop the chatter. Just as she
was about to call us to order, a woman wearing a grey wooly cardigan whose name I didn't know (the name of the woman, not the name of the cardigan - please keep up) stood up and made her way to the front. She had Something To Say, she announced self-importantly.
Well, we all sat up and took notice, in case we were about to hear Something to Our Advantage.
Mrs Grey Cardigan cleared her throat and declared herself less than satisfied with the songs that we sing. Did
we not all agree, she said, looking round at us all through challenging eyes, that we should sing more modern songs, like those by Lennon & McCartney or Elton John? OK, she conceded, these songs were still the best part of forty years old but they were
of "our era" rather than that of our parents and grandparents. There was a spell-bound silence as we all glanced at The Redoubtable Muriel to see how she would respond.
The thing is, this has been a discussion
point ever since Mr B and I joined the choir, just over two years ago. But never has it been so, well, openly raised. Ian the Engineer once managed, on a Questers behind the scenes visit to the local Library, to find the words and music of Abba's Thank You
for the Music and, through careful negotiation, had this added to our repertoire. We already do sing the Beatles' When I'm Sixty Four - although we are thinking of changing the words slightly to recognise the fact that virtually all of us are past the magic
age and dangling grandchildren on our knees, as envisaged by the song writers. We even sing the Rhythm of Life though Muriel really doesn't "get" the words at all. "Flip your wings and fly to Daddy," she intones, "What exactly does it mean? "
Mrs Grey Cardigan's challenge was the main topic of conversation for the Bacon Bap Brigade in the cafe afterwards. Most of us were on Muriel's side, while at the same time debating how we might infiltrate some more modern
music into our song books. "I like the songs we sing!" I'd told her after our session closed - and she said she was quite prepared to consider more modern songs provided they met her two criteria - a good (singable) tune and words with real meaning.
The challenge is on!