Sunday, December 13, 2009

A fold in time

Really far too tired to blog this, but the moment will pass otherwise... Today's concert, Words & Music for Christmas, was an old formula that we devised some 25 years ago for the choir we had started when we came to Dunoon. The Hesperians was a mixed voice choir, about 15 voices strong, and when we began our Christmas events, always on the third Sunday in Advent, we packed the venue, with people up in the balcony that even then we suspected as being precarious. In 1996 we gave our final such concert and the choir ceased to exist, having run out of tenors.

This year the choir that is really the child of the Hesperians revived the format, and, in a folding of time, that was what we were involved in this afternoon. 8+1 is a female voice group - 8 women, 1 man (Mr B, the MD) - and for today we were augmented by a second bass to sing SATB pieces. The second altos have developed into convincing tenors, and the sound was magical in places; we also sang several pieces arranged for female voices. We actually achieved a sufficiently high standard to put a smile on Mr B's face - not a rueful grimace in sight today!

But the audience reflected the fact that there are so many more carol events in Dunoon these days. Gone the time when we were the only show of this type in town - and gone the children, our children, sitting solemnly in the front row with their grandparents, also long gone. We are the grandparents now - and our grandchildren are far away and probably don't realise that their grandparents don't know their place and are still up there performing. I kept looking up expecting to see feet swinging at the ends of legs too short to reach the floor, and seeing only a sea of grey heads.

But the adrenaline of performance still works its rejuvenating magic, even if we collapse in exhaustion afterwards, and the particular thrill of hearing our own work - Mr B's arrangements; a couple of my poems - performed in public is not easily beaten. The hall may be on the verge of demolition, the balcony long out of bounds because of rot; the choristers may suddenly have become 13 years older without really noticing - but today we performed our socks off, and showed how it can be done.

And if you've never heard The Christ Child's Lullaby arranged for solo voices (Gaelic and English), four part choir, piano and solo cello - you've missed yourself. 'Nuff said.


  1. Sounds fab...Clearly when the seasonal madness is behind us, I need to talk to you to learn more about the transition from SATB to 8+1
    I'm still struggling with the transition from BEING the young sop who always did v1 Once in Royal via being the mother of the treble to now being the mother of (dear Lord, when did THAT happen?) the tenor soloist in A Spotless Rose....It's extra evident at this time of year, when so much is superficially unchanged, isn't it?conb

  2. What choir is the tenor soloist in? I wrote about this last year here