Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Earworms and emotion

This is the season when all good choristers tend to go around singing snippets of carols – evidence of the earworms with which they are afflicted. Sometimes the words are obviously misremembered, random juxtaposing of mismatched lines, tum-ti-tums with mangers and oxen, la-lahs with virgins and angels. I have just returned from Somerfields, where I startled an elderly man over the 3 for the price of 2 cheeses by singing “here’s no ox about thy bed” quite audibly but unprepared by any preliminary humming. He moved swiftly off, without any cheese.

But I’m interested in the sudden surge of emotion which afflicts me these days as I sing. Partly, of course, it’s the new grandson: too many carols have me seeing his face and feeling him warm in my arms. But I have a feeling that it’s also being older. Rather than the detached coolness with which I used to sing – not only carols, but at the funerals of friends – I find myself on the verge of cracking inconveniently as I sing “hush my darling” in the new arrangement of Watts’ Cradle Song (by Mr B – glorious). It is especially inconvenient as I’m singing the melody with one other alto – everyone else is singing Oooooo - and if I do crack up, it’ll be horribly noticeable.

So: task of the week. Sing tenderly and beautifully, but don’t listen to the words. And don’t, please don’t, think of grandchildren.

1 comment:

  1. Ah Chris...This time of year, it is hard not to hold a new baby and think upon the Christmas story. A young woman with a new baby....not totally understanding the entire history of the world was to change with the baby's birth. This little baby had to come into the world with a multitude of questions, but young Mary was so trusting...

    In looking into a newly-born face, I find myself holding back the tears as the story of Baby Jesus plays out in my mind!

    And the carols...ah yes, we hear them everywhere and somehow, this time of the year, hope is renewed as we anticipate that glorious birth. Sing on, dear woman, and yes, if you falter, it is only love overwhelming you!

    God bless, Chris!