Not our usual day in Beeston, but 40 of us turned up for the T20 anthem ECS Juke box. Anthems chosen by the ECS singers – some for a special reason and some just to blast out! The songs ranged across several decades from the 60s to the 00s, thus causing great angst to my wardrobe! Should I go mini-skirt 60s or hippy 70s or maybe even soulful 00s? The compromise was to wear as many decades as possible – 60s hair, 70s heavy metal T shirt, 80s white jeans and then a cowboy hat for Country Roads. Please don’t do this to me again, Simon; my wardrobe will be exhausted!
But how great was the selection? We loved them all; and the singing was really good. Of course, in good choir tradition, we had to warm up before starting the programme.
This month’s warm up was a cross between hand jive, Morris dancing and an Austrian lederhosen routine! First we learned the tune – and how easy was that? We were complimented by our leader on the speed with which we picked up the notes. Smugness abounded in the room! Then he started putting in arm movements and clapping – which challenged some people’s co-ordination – with arms being flung in gay abandon dangerously close to neighbours. Then he started the knee slapping. Not just your own knees. Oh no! We had to slap the knees of our next door neighbour as well! Two of us got called to the front to demonstrate. This is the first (and probably the last!) time I will be required to touch Simon’s naked knees – but at least, we were all feeling very relaxed afterwards and ready to move on to some brilliant anthems.
Starting with ‘Hey Jude’ and progressing to ‘The Boxer’ with Tim and Simon doing their Simon and Carbuncle routine. I often comment in these blogs about the delight in discovering the real words to songs. It is so easy to think you know a song because you can remember the chorus, but often the verses are a blur. That was certainly the case for me with ‘The Boxer’ – so familiar, and yet seeing the words on screen and actually singing them, makes the story of the song so much clearer. Simon’s punctuation of the phrasing in the last verse made the lyrics powerful in their description of the boxer (ooh, I’ve gone all philosophical – apologies!). Then we all sang ‘Lie la lie’ and felt much better. Then we finished our first half with ‘Sweet Caroline’ – always a joy to sing (especially since it gives altos a chance to show off their low note skills) and an opportunity to don the cowboy hat! Also one of my favourite introductions, powerfully rendered by our awesome musicians.
As day follows night, so cake follows singing and vice versa, so we returned, full of home made biscuits, to ‘Will you still love me tomorrow?’ It’s interesting that the original title of this song was ‘Will you love me tomorrow’. The word ‘still’, which is in the second verse, seems to have crept into the title in later versions. Whatever – it’s a cracking song! John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’, which is apparently an official state anthem of West Virginia, is a wonderful anthem, but on this occasion was enlivened by Simon’s anecdote about Barry from Scunthorpe (was it Scunthorpe?). Anyway you’ll have to ask Simon about that!
And so to our last song, chosen by Stuart, ‘Don’t you want me baby?’ Apparently the song was fixed permanently in Stuart’s head during a holiday in Menorca, when it was played almost continuously in the bar. A Balearic delight!
I secretly think Stuart chose it because it gives the men a chance to shine! After all, it’s not often they get a whole verse to themselves. The price for this, though, is to be lined up at the side of the room – as if for a firing squad – to be stared at by the overwhelming number of women. Male solidarity rules – they produced a great sound for 8 individuals. The women, however, were not outdone and if you watch the video on FB, you will see one particular singer totally drawn into the emotion of the chorus. Go girl!
Great songs, great singing and as usual, great musicians. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. And we finished virtually on time so hopefully nobody’s dinner was spoiled.