We’ve doubled in numbers this year, and from my place at the back, I scanned the room. Very February. All my fellow singers looked like they’d had enough of winter. Even their clothes, though brightly coloured, seemed tired, happy to be sitting down and longing for Spring.
‘Okay, now, we’re going to split this – I’d like middle voices over here and first voices to my right’ Lizzie called out. A flurry of activity followed and some confusion. I turned to one of my choir pals, ‘Where you going S?’ ‘Well, I thought I’d try the seconds for a change’ she replied. ‘Really?’ I asked, surprised. S, after all had been picked to perform a – high – solo at our Christmas concert. ‘Sure, why not?’
Her influence won me over. We sat in the middle and learnt the next couple of pieces. It was hard not to get swayed by the tune on our left – definitely more difficult and far more complex we agreed.
We broke for tea. ‘We’re going into sectionals when we get back’ Lizzie said. ‘I’ll take the firsts into the other room, and the middle and lower voices will stay here with Luke’. Our little group was shaken to its core. ‘What does that mean? That now we’ve learnt the seconds part for a couple of songs – that’s it for the whole repertoire?!!’ ‘But I like singing the tune!’ someone else cried. I volunteered to speak to our conductor.
She looked at me with big blue eyes and then away: ‘You can join the firsts if you like: I used to feel like you do, but singing the second part is great once you get used to it’. Luke chipped in: ‘Yeah, and by the way, that part in the Billy Joel song is the really cool part – all the best crunchy harmonies’.
By the tea urn people were diving for the biscuits and helping themselves to orange squash and hot drinks – chatting away. I reported back. Well it’s a new year – perhaps a change would be good, we decided.
Just before 9pm the firsts joined us. I looked at the world I’d temporarily left behind which, amongst other things, was inevitably a delicious prompt to singing the tune on the way home each week. I felt a bit sad and wondered if I’d made the right move.
‘Okay, from the top’ Lizzie said. Ensconced in the middle, we sang our part and became immersed in the harmonies created by the gorgeous fusing of voices. We could feel the revelatory beauty of the sound it produced – and it touched my heart.
Elated and victorious, S and I looked at each other and grinned.