18 June

Going for a song

In the olden days, people used to gather round the piano[1] and sing songs together and it was more about making music than listening to music so you didn’t have to be a diva to join in. Now we’ve got superb, word‑class music in earshot all day long so there’s no particular reason to listen to untrained amateurs trill shaky renditions of the song of the day… no particular reason to listen, that is, but there are still particular reasons to sing as one of those untrained amateurs, including that singing is fun and it’s also good for you physically.[2]

Given how hard it is to get modern Australians even to sing “Happy birthday”, your chances of organising a sing-along are pretty low at any time other than Christmas, but carol singing is one of those archaic activities (like buying biscuits in tins) that still gets a Yuletide airing and here are some forms of it that might appeal to you:

  • the aforementioned gathering around a musical instrument
  • carolling from door to door[3]
  • karaoke
  • your local “Carols by Candlelight”
  • a proper choir[4]

and the standard can be whatever your bunch are capable of:

  • foghorn unison on “The Little Drummer Boy”
  • someone does the descant on “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
  • four-part harmony on “Silent Night”
  • Handel’s Messiah in your city’s concert hall

You may be surprised by how much you’ll enjoy carol singing: why not give it a go?

18 jun 2016.jpg
Carols by standard lamp.

I asked Jack what he wanted for his birthday. He started with jet pack, then went to drone and then to droid. (My aunt gave Matthew a dictionary when he turned eighteen but that was back when books were still a thing.)

[1] Or the organ or the guitar or the squeezebox.

[2] Mostly. My friend Fiona’s sister Melanie sprained her throat trying to sing a note that could shatter a glass. (There was no damage to the glass.)

[3] Best to let your neighbourhood know about this ahead of time. (My neighbour Gustav once set the dogs on some carollers. (To be fair, he thought they were collecting for charity.))

[4] Some are happy to take on members just for the Christmas season and, if not, why not join for the whole year?

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