I like music. I listen to some sort of music – ipod/radio – every day. I sing to it and dance around the kitchen, and I have been known to cry to it. I can still remember as a dumped teenager how every single word of a love song, any love song, cut right through to my soul in that dramatic way that only teenagers feel. Knowing ‘Everybody Hurts‘ doesn’t necessarily make you feel better when no-one hurts as much as you.
My taste is eclectic. I put this down to being exposed to pretty much all types of music as a child. My father loved to stand in front of the fire, mock conducting choral and classical. I particularly remember the stereogram belting out the cacophany of the 1812 overture making the floor shake, and we always listened to the dire ‘Sing Something Simple‘ at teatimes on Sunday (did it really run ’til 2001???). I watched countless musicals with my mum and nan, and can also thank my sister for introducing me to the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Elvis.
So now I have everything from the soft and beautiful ‘In Paradisium’, through every genre (except Jazz which fails to stir me) to the loud and brash ‘Start Wearing Purple‘, a track that always makes me happy from one of the many Gogol Bordello albums, on my ipod. Some days I’ll listen to endless Green Day and others a bit of Anthony and the Johnsons, The Civil Wars or The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. For some reason, though they are all different sides of a spectrum, they are all capable of soothing me and cheering me up. Without a doubt, music has strange and mystic mood enhancing qualities.
Now, there is one problem with all this. Despite immersing myself in music, despite learning to play the violin and the cello at school, despite singing and dancing nearly every day of my life….. I am not musical in anyway whatsoever. Anyone who has heard me will confirm that singing is a very loose term for what I do, and frankly, as ‘wii dance’ will testify, my movement is hardly ‘seemly’. Leans more towards dad dancing than graceful swan to be honest.
Despite my shortcomings, I recently joined a choir. Choirs are big news in this country at the moment, and thanks to the fabulous Gareth Malone, they are springing up everywhere. Retford is no exception, and when I saw the advert for the newly formed ‘Retford Community Singers – You don’t need to be able to sing to join us’ I jumped at the chance. Well, it’s their own fault, they shouldn’t have said it.
So I’ve been trotting off on a Tuesday evening to join around 65 others all belting out weird and wonderful verses in the round, and traditional folk songs in strange languages. I’ve found I am an Alto rather than the Soprano I imagined, and hence can reach the notes (well nearly reach the notes) a darn sight easier. Some people can sing better than me, and some (not many) worse, but the overall noise we make is amazingly good, rounded and uplifting. I come away smiling and humming to myself. So thanks Gareth!
All I need now is to find a dance troupe for which you don’t need to be able to dance.
Talking of music though, I just found out about the completely wonderful and amazing ‘Landfillharmonic‘ take a look, have a listen, and be prepared to be astounded by the ingenuity and skill of the adults and the talents of the children.
By the way, I have Christmas music on right now. Don’t you just love ‘The little boy that Santa Claus forgot’? What was his mum up to then? You’d have thought she’d have got something sorted…!