Here’s our ladies’ choir getting ready for a performance in the local church hall. Yes, we’re mainly a bit long in the tooth, but that doesn’t affect our tone – we’ve been charming all kinds of groups for over 40 years. Because they usually ask us back!
We do have some young ’uns too – our drummer boy is eleven and keeps us with it beatwise, especially for Yellow Bird and Chattanooga Choo Choo. He’s guardian of the train whistle for that one. We also have a teenage soprano with a lovely voice – she does the solo in the Vicar of Dibley version of the Lord’s My Shepherd. We whack out Rhythm of Life in 4 parts, collapsing with laughter if we’re all still together at the end. And our version of What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor defies description – it comes with actions but we’re rarely get ’em together (age related forgetfulness?) but it has the audience hooting with mirth every time.
We sing at some 25 venues every year. Classical, jazz, folksongs, musicals, with different songs in spring and autumn and Christmassy ones in December – so lots of rehearsing. As well as concerts for the public, many of our concerts take place in sheltered accommodation, occasionally in carehomes for people with dementia. Here we change our programme, taking maracas, triangles, tambourines and so on, and those of our audience who can, join in. Often people, who generally sit silently in their own little world, will join in with remembered songs from their childhood, and this is very moving for us and their carers.
Generally we don’t charge, but we do ask for donations and last year we raised £3000 for local charities. Since 1993 we’ve raised nearly £30,000.
Sounds busy – but it’s lots of fun – both rehearsals and performances are full of laughter. And we’re a social group too, caring for members and friendly towards our very varied audiences.
Yes, we ‘can sing both high and low’ as the Bard put it, and I hope no one who listens to us thinks with Coleridge –
‘Swans sing before they die – ’twere no bad thing
Did certain people die before they sing.’