A friend tells of how much she enjoys her membership of her local choir, an activity she finds uplifting and sociable and one she looks forward to with great relish. There is a sense of working with others to learn and develop an end product far in excess of what any participant could manage individually. It is a reaffirmation of the social good of people.
I have memories of school choirs which I do not cherish. These are from my young days as a primary school teacher when my function was purely to maintain order, to keep the chatting, giggling and general childish fun in reasonable check – though the choir master demanded absolutely rigid control, perfect silence except when he wished to hear a voice and, most certainly, no shuffling of feet or snizzling, sneezing nor coughing.
Music was never my forte and to this day I never seek to listen to music though I do miss it in our house. Our youngest son loves music and, while he is in the house, there is always music whether it be his guitar or piano keyboard or simply the record player and I’ve always found this a pleasure.
At those school choirs so many years ago, I could feel the dread and the horror of a child being told to sing alone – the choirmaster ensuring he was on key and had a reasonable voice. To this day, were I asked to sing alone in public I would wish the ground to open and swallow me to spare me the agony. How cruelly children were dismissed – “No, you’re out! Or” Can’t sing, out!” Such incidents possibly hindered a life’s enjoyment of music. Such a pity!
On the other hand, there is that much vaunted choir – the choir of the morning chorus, when the birds of the country respond to the first rays of light each morning with their melodious notes. There is the sharp, yet melodic notes of the blackbird, the mellow tones of the song thrush, the enthusiasm of the robin and so on. It can be an enjoyable experience to, as is a practice nowadays, be out and about early in the day to listen to, experience, and enjoy this moment.
All of this is done without audition and this morning I wished for that old school choirmaster to come along and disperse some of his vitriol and critical dismissal. Herring gulls, for some reason known only to their own deluded little brains, believe themselves to be stars of this morning performance and, quite honestly – and said in all kindness – they are not. A bedroom, away from home and at the seaside, has added seagulls to my dawn chorus experience and I wish there was somebody to yell at them, “No, you’re out!” or “Can’t sing, out!”
There are times where harsh judgements are called for and are perfectly appropriate! Blasted gulls!